There's no denying that Orlando City has had a great last four weeks. The Lions are unbeaten in four matches since their May 13 loss to D.C., and have posted two wins to climb back up to fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
It's been far from perfect, though. Orlando was largely ineffective at home against Columbus Crew SC, despite the visitors playing with ten men for nearly 75 minutes. In general, outside of the 4-0 romp over the Galaxy, the play hasn't exactly been inspiring.
Using the magic of the internet, I wanted to illustrate some of the strengths and weaknesses the Lions have shown over the last month of so.
Cyle Larin Proves Himself
The first is a quality header to bring Orlando City get Orlando City back in the match against New England. The second is a swerving blast from 22 yards to level things at two against the Chicago Fire. Both were game-changing goals, and largely individual displays of skill. Sometimes, that's what you really need from your striker.
Aurelien Collin is a Force of Nature
Defense, offense, wherever! Those are strong plays by a strong man. Orlando City put together a few good results while Collin was nursing and injury, but I, for one, am happy to have him back on the field.
Outside of Collin, Defensive Struggles
This is awful stuff from Sean St. Ledger. First, he drifts well out to the right from his position as left center back. Then, as he recovers, he confusingly decides to position himself directly behind Aurelien Collin, who is trying to cover for him on the left. While the communication should be better all-around, it's St. Ledger's responsibility to see Collin in front of him and adjust to flatten the backline.
So let's put Seb Hines back in! Not so fast...
Here, Hines allows Charlie Davies to move onto his stronger right foot, when he could have easily forced him left (and toward Collin). New to soccer? This is pretty basic stuff in basketball, football, and hockey as well. You force an attacker toward help/onto his weaker foot or hand. Hard to imagine what he expected to happen there, but we've seen Hines struggle to turn his hips quickly before. Remember Jozy Altidore's goals when Toronto was in town?
Here's Rafael Ramos' howler against New England. No explanation needed here. Don't do that.
That's it for now. I'm going to make an effort to include more GIFs in our tactical analyses going forward, so we can give readers a better visual sense of what went down.
Good luck to Brek Shea and the U.S. National Team today against Germany!