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Foul Play: How Have Fouls Affected Orlando City's Season So Far?

An overview of the impact of fouls and bookings on the first five Orlando City matches.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Fouls can have an impact on the flow of a game, potential scoring opportunities, and even whole seasons. Let's take a look at how fouls have affected Orlando City's season so far. Please note that this is not a piece questioning the officiating, but simply a statistical look at fouls called and how they impacted each match.

March 6, 2016 - vs. Real Salt Lake

In the first match of the season, Orlando City committed 13 fouls, while Real Salt Lake committed 10. Orlando City had two yellow cards to Real Salt Lake's one, with each team receiving a red card. One of Orlando's fouls did result in a goal for RSL. In the 26th minute, Seb Hines fouled Yura Movsisyan in the penalty box, and Joao Plata put the ensuing spot kick in the upper left corner for the first goal of the game. Thanks to last minute heroics, Orlando was able to save a point. Unfortunately, Darwin Ceren would not be available for the game against Chicago.

March 11, 2016 - vs. Chicago Fire

In the most lopsided game in regards to fouls so far this season, Orlando City committed 21 fouls to Chicago's eight. The squads were even on yellow cards, with three each, and the game's lone red card went to Chicago. David Accam's goal in the 14th minute didn't come off a foul, nor was Cyle Larin's goal in the fourth minute. Despite the Fire playing a man down for much of the match, the foul discrepancy did not seem to affect the match.

March 18, 2016 - at New York City FC

Orlando City traveled to New York and secured the Lions' first win of the 2016 season. There were seven fouls by Orlando City and nine by NYCFC, with two yellow cards for Orlando and one for NYCFC. No red cards were issued. NYCFC wasn't able to capitalize on any Orlando fouls, despite Orlando being on the defensive much of the game.

April 3, 2016 - vs. Porland Timbers

Orlando's biggest win of the season to this point featured 12 fouls for the Lions and 15 for Portland. Orlando received two yellow cards to three for Portland. One of those would be changed to a red card for Brek Shea by the MLS Disciplinary Committee. Shea's red card was not the only way fouls affected the match. Seb Hines' goal in the 13th minute came from a free kick delivered by Kaká after a Portland foul. After Diego Chara fouled Kevin Molino in the penalty area, Kaká let Molino take the penalty kick and the Trinidadian converted for his first goal as a Lion. Orlando was fortunate earlier in the match, when a Fanendo Adi penalty kick resulting from Brek Shea's handball was saved by Joe Bendik.

April 8, 2016 - at Philadelphia Union

In Orlando City's first loss of the season, the team once again was on the wrong side of the fouls, with 16 to Philadelphia's six. Despite that, the team had no yellow cards, and there were no red cards. Unfortunately, the game winner for Philadelphia came off a free kick in the 90th minute.

Two of the five games so far were won or lost due to goals that resulted from fouls. Brek Shea was certainly missed in the loss at Philly thanks to the red card against Portland. And while it's been a mixed bag so far, there can be no doubt that fouls impact matches. With the nature of the game, we can be certain that there will be plenty more fouls throughout the season. All we can hope, is that the calls go for us more than not. Vamos Orlando!