Last week, we took a look at how Orlando City did in converting set pieces. This week, we'll head to the other side of the field and take a look at how Orlando City defended against the same. For those of you who like Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, we bring you the the good, the bad, and the ugly. But, we're going to do it in reverse. Because we can, and you can't stop us.
Let's get this out of the way. Orlando City defended seven penalty kicks in regular time in 2015. All seven resulted in goals. That's not good -- indeed it's ugly -- but penalty kicks are notoriously difficult to defend. In soccer, 85% of all penalty kicks are successful. So, while 100% conceded is worse, we're only talking about the difference of one save in seven. Orlando City only converted on four of six penalty kicks in MLS play in 2015. So, sure...room to improve on both sides. Some of this may be improved by allowing fewer penalties, with the recent additions to the defense.
As we noted last week, fouls happen. Orlando City committed 467 fouls throughout the season. From those, the Lions gave up 11 goals off of free kicks. That means that 2.3% of fouls resulted in goals conceded. By comparison, they only scored four from restarts, but that was less than 1% of goals scored. Obviously, the difference in percentage is not so bad, but the seven goals would have made a difference, given that Orlando City had a negative-10 goal differential.
Corner kick defense is just as important as corner kick offense. When teams are practicing, it's both sides that they are working on.
Who will be defending whom, and where will individual players be positioned? There are many factors to consider when defending. The good news is that the numbers are on the side of the defense, which is why scoring from corners is very difficult. Orlando City converted on six of 164 corner kicks, which was 13% of all its goals scored. City only gave up four goals on 189 corner kicks, which is only 5% of the goals it conceded. The one part of set pieces that Orlando City was able to have the advantage on was corner kicks.
Well, there you have it. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It was Orlando's inaugural MLS season in 2015, and the Lions will be looking to improve in all areas going into 2016. When looking at defending set pieces, it is free kicks and penalty kicks with which Orlando City should be concerned. They have already made moves to address this with the additions to the defense that the front office has brought in during the off-season and in the 2015 summer window.