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Orlando City Making the Most of Set Pieces in 2017

The Lions are showing impressive progress in dead ball situations this season and are already benefiting from it

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As our Logan F. Oliver recently showed in his mid-season review, despite its better overall campaign, Orlando City SC has scored fewer goals in its first 17 games in 2017 than it did in the last two years in MLS. However, the Lions’ offensive production has showed significant progress in an important area: scoring from set pieces.

According to, Orlando scored only eight goals from set pieces during its inaugural MLS campaign in 2015, finishing dead last in the league in that category. In the following season, the Lions scored the same number of goals in dead ball situations, but climbed to 15th place in the ranking, still very far from Toronto FC’s 20, though.

In 2017, however, Orlando City has already found the back of the net an impressive seven times from free kicks or corner kicks so far. The team is the third-most effective in the league in these kind of situations, behind only the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Houston Dynamo, which have each scored eight times from set pieces.

Dead ball situations become more and more important each year in every level of soccer and seeing the Lions getting more effective on them is great news. Especially at home, when rivals have the possibility of bunkering to hold ties, free kicks and corner kicks can be the easiest (and sometimes the only) way to break into their defenses.

The improved performance on set pieces already paid dividends for Orlando City as the team recently managed to collect two points by getting stoppage-time goals. That is what happened in the recent draws with the Montreal Impact, when Jonathan Spector scored after a Matias Perez Garcia corner kick, and against the defending champion Seattle Sounders, with Scott Sutter heading a free kick taken by Kaká to the back of the net.

The Lions, though, made the most of dead ball situations in April, when they won back-to-back games because of them. Against the New York Red Bulls, Servando Carrasco completed a cross from Will Johnson to score the game-winner in the 1-0 victory. A few days later, Johnson found Cyle Larin on a corner kick and the Canadian gave Orlando the 2-1 win against the LA Galaxy.

Orlando should do whatever it takes to remain effective from set pieces as the team has already noticed it can add valuable points through them. With talented free kick and corner kick takers such as Kaká, Johnson, and MPG — and big bodies in the box to compete for the ball such as Cyle Larin, Jose Aja, and Tommy Redding, the Lions can be really hard to handle on dead ball situations.