Two of Orlando City's goals Saturday night against the Chicago Fire were officially own-goals but were created by good decisions and fundamental play from the Lions.
One just criticism of Orlando City this season has been their decision making. The team often takes ill-advised shots, ending any attacking threat. But during Saturday night's 3-2 win in Chicago, two of the Lions' three goals came from wise decisions and being fundamentally sound.
The first goal for Orlando City came in the 40th minute when Lewis Neal sent a corner kick toward the back post. On the other end of the kick, Sean St. Ledger headed the ball toward the back post forcing a terrific save from Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch. The save bounced off Fire defender Adailton and into the goal for the equalizer.
While this goal might seem like a gift for the Lions, it was the fundamental header by St. Ledger, directing the ball down and toward the opposite post that caused the goal to occur. Too often this season, Orlando City has seen these headers go over the goal, ending any attack.
The third and winning goal also was recorded as an own-goal but, again, was earned by the Lions. In the 86th minute, following a lovely pass by Kaká, Carlos Rivas carried the ball into the box. Drawing Busch, the midfielder played a pass to the awaiting striker Cyle Larin at the top of the six-yard box. However, before the ball reached Larin, Adailton reached out his left foot and redirected the ball into the open Fire net.
When Rivas received the ball, he had plenty of space to run into, creating a dangerous attacking situation. There have been times this season where Rivas would've attempted a shot from what was a tough angle and with the goalkeeper approaching. Instead, Rivas took his time, realizing that Larin was to his right and played the ball across the six.
The importance of making wise decisions and playing fundamentally sound soccer cannot be overemphasized and that was proven Saturday night. Too often this season, Orlando City players have made poor decisions or fundamentally poor plays, ending attacks. That's why, despite controlling most of their games, they have come away with either a draw or a loss. But in Chicago, it was sound decision making and fundamental play that caused two of the three goals.
Orlando City can learn a lot from their performance Saturday night going forward. Most notably that when they make wise decisions, good things happen. The three points picked up over the weekend puts the Lions in a good position as the season's midway point nears. They've proven they can play with the best in the league and if they make better decisions, they can be a dangerous team.