First, let's talk about what is on everyone's mind: we can all agree that the past few weeks have been pretty eventful for Orlando City fans. We have seen the advent of the Orlando Pride travel to Portland to lose a well fought match and last night got their first ever victory, beating the Houston Dash 3-1 in front of a record crowd.
We can also talk about how the Lions have run into some terrible officiating in their past two games. Getting this out of the way up front is a good idea. Mistakes happen and usually they balance out. The Philadelphia match should have ended in a draw and the New England match should have been three points. Hopefully, by the end of the year, those mistakes will not be magnified and cost Orlando and instead will even themselves out.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's dive into our normal statistical look. We here at The Mane Land wanted to take a high level look at how the Eastern Conference is shaping up statistically so far. This high level look will be up to date with statistics as of April 22 and will not include this weekend's games. Some of the more interesting key metrics included in this look are:
GD: Overall goal differential.
ShtF: Shots for.
AvShtF: Average shots for.
ShtA: Shots against.
AvShtA: Average shots against.
TSR: Total Shot Ratio. Shots for divided by (shots for + shots against).
PDO: The sum of a team's finishing rate and save percentage, scaled so that 1000 is typical.
Poss: Possession. Completed passes for divided by (completed passes for + completed passes against).
Orlando has a few positives and a few negatives to be seen here versus the average Eastern Conference team. First, we look to have the same issue rearing its ugly head again in 2016 that existed last year: Orlando just does not shoot enough. The Lions fall short of the league average of 13.6 shots for per game but perhaps that negative can be deceiving.
The reason it could be deceiving is that Orlando, when looking at much more complete metrics such as the previously defined TSR and PDO, either finds itself at the conference average (Orlando TSR of 50%), or well above the conference average (Orlando PDO 1047). PDO which measures the sum of save percentage and finishing rate looks to see how well a team performs in those final moments in the defensive third and attacking third. Orlando here places fifth in the Eastern Conference. Couple that with being fifth in the conference as well in the TSR key metric then the argument that Orlando has room for improvement by letting loose more often on goal may not end up being valid.
However, even though the season is young and a look at overall metrics such as these may not warrant much attention so early in the season, there are always telling pieces to take away. Another that we should be focusing on is why Orlando, a possession oriented team, is failing in that category, falling just below the league average of 50%. Certainly the outing against NYCFC, where the Lions were held to just 34% of the possession, brings their overall average down. The team struggled to get anything going in that game and held on to a one-goal win thanks to Cyle Larin's face and a few great Joe Bendik saves.
Another stat to be happy about is the fact that Orlando is taking away more points from games than its league counterparts are (1.5 ppg to 1.16). Hopefully the Lions can add to their average tonight when they take on the New York Red Bulls. If you're a fan of the Statistical Showdown and will be watching the game with a second screen going, be sure to follow the statistical trends on mlssoccer.com and give your take in our live, in-game commentary in the comments section of our How to Watch piece. That'll drop at 4 pm. Be sure to check it out, and--as always--go Lions!