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Corners and Free Kicks: How Did they Affect Orlando City's 2015 Season?

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Set pieces are an important part of any match. How did Orlando City fare in that part of the game in its inaugural MLS season?

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

In soccer there are set pieces that can impact a game. Both corner kicks and restarts after a foul are opportunities to score outside of the usual flow of the game. Let's take a look at how Orlando City did in 2015 with those opportunities.

Corner Kicks

Corner kicks are an opportunity for a team to put players in a position to hopefully put the ball into the back of the net. Teams practice how they're going to play these set pieces. There are many factors involved, including who will take the kick itself, where each player will line up, who will make runs, and whether you put it into the scrum or kick it short. With the care that goes into these scoring opportunities, one would expect them to be a goal bonanza. However, we who watch the game know that, more often than not, goal conversion of a corner kick can be elusive.

Orlando City took 164 corner kicks last season, and the Lions were able to convert six goals. That is a 3.7% conversion rate. That doesn't seem to be a very big number, but remember that these are essentially "freebie" opportunities to score.

Let's look at it from another perspective. Orlando City scored 46 goals last season, so that means the six they scored off corner kicks represents 13% of the total goals scored on the season. Given the fact that not every corner kick is going to result in a shot on goal (or even a shot), that number is much better than at first glance. Additionally, Orlando City's record when scoring on corner kicks was 4-1-0 (the game against the Columbus Crew on Aug. 1 had two corner kick goals).

Of course, we would still like for that percentage to increase next season.

Restarts from Fouls

Fouls happen. As much as we might wish they don't have a big impact on any particular game, they will sometimes be the difference between winning and losing. Or will they?

Orlando City committed 467 fouls in 2015, and suffered 476 fouls against. That was good enough for the eighth-best ratio for FC/FS (Fouls Committed/Fouls Suffered) in MLS last year. So did that result in more wins? Orlando City won 12 games last season. In those wins, we had fewer fouls than the opponent five times, more fouls five times, and the same amount twice. 5-5-2. It doesn't get any more even than that.

Let's go a bit deeper. Orlando City scored eight times as a result of fouls: Four penalty kick goals, and four others as a result of a restart. That equates to 17% of the total goals on the season coming off fouls suffered. Not a bad number by any means, and it was certainly helpful that penalty kicks resulted in four of six finding the back of the net. Additionally, Orlando City's record when scoring as a result of a foul suffered was 4-0-4. That's right ... four wins, four draws. Quite a satisfactory result.

As the 2016 Season approaches, it's important to remember that all aspects of the game have an impact. Some more, some less, but all important to the whole. March 6 can't get here soon enough. Vamos Orlando!