Lack of offensive power has been one of Orlando City SC’s main issues in 2017. With only 38 goals scored in 32 matches, the Lions have the fifth least effective attack in MLS and are on pace to have their worst offensive season ever after scoring 46 goals in 2015 and 55 in 2016.
Outside of Cyle Larin, who found the back of the net 12 times already, no other Lion is expected to score in double digits in 2017 (although Dom Dwyer could reach 10 combined between Orlando and SKC). But what led Orlando to such a limited offensive proficiency in its third MLS season? Here are three issues the team needs to fix to improve its goal scoring rate:
Find a Reliable Play Maker
Three players lead Orlando City in assists this season according to WhoScored.com: Kaká, Dom Dwyer, and Scott Sutter, with four each. If we combine their numbers, they would still be behind seven players of other MLS teams in the table.
Creating changes is a team task, but Orlando City needs to find a consistent and reliable play maker. It’s not a surprise that Toronto FC, which has Victor Vasquez leading the league in assists with 16, and Atlanta United, which has two players in the top seven in Miguel Almirón and Yamil Assad, are the two best scoring teams in MLS.
Get More From the Wings
Larin and Dwyer can be one of the most dangerous forward combos in the league, but they are not chance creators. Both the Canadian and Englishman with dual citizenship are known for their ability to finish plays, not to generate them. And they are clearly more efficient when fed through the wings.
Jason Kreis’ system does not suit them well as the Lions overload the center of the field and struggle to create from the sides. The team has had no efficient wingers in 2017 and the fullbacks cannot carry the load. Sutter did a decent job, with one goal and four assists, but Donny Toia was less flashy offensively, with only two assists.
Toronto FC’s fullbacks, Justin Morrow and Steven Beitashour, combined for eight goals and five assists. New York City FC’s Ben Sweat and RJ Allen, who combine for 33 starts against 56 by Sutter/Toia, helped their team with one goal and eight assists.
Score More in Transition
According to WhoScored.com, Orlando City is one of the seven teams in the league which has yet to score on a counter attack. It makes a lot of sense since the team does not have the right pieces to be effective in transition, but this is something the Lions should focus on fixing.
Counter attacks are useful weapons for teams who do not possess much firepower and creativity and Orlando could definitely make use of them to catch defensive systems out of shape and score. This is more of a personnel issue and can definitely be fixed in the off-season.