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What Would Have Happened: Orlando City vs. Chicago Fire

How did the Lions fare against the Fire in a simulated match?

SOCCER: FEB 29 MLS - Orlando City SC v Real Salt Lake

Almost the entire sporting world has come to a stop, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. So, since Orlando City did not get to play last weekend, I simulated the game on FIFA 20.

The Lions fell to the Chicago Fire 1-0 and moved to 0-2-1, with just one point on the season. Nani returned from suspension, but did not do anything noteworthy and finished with a rating of 6.6.

Here is a video of the first half:

Chicago forced a turnover after the kickoff and nearly scored. Álvaro Medrán played a perfect through ball to Przemysław Frankowski, who skied the ball and kept the game scoreless.

Orlando’s first chance of the game came in the 11th minute. Chris Mueller got free on the wing and made some nice cut moves. The Lions had a good passing spell, but the chance ended with a poor shot from Sebas Mendez.

In stoppage time of the first half, Gastón Giménez tried a first time shot from the top of the box. Pedro Gallese made a good save to deny the opportunity and effectively end the first half. Chicago had more possession (58%), shots (4-3), and shots on goal (2-0) than Orlando in the first half.

There was a little more action in the second half. Below is a video of what happened:

Giménez hit the post in the 53rd minute. Chicago controlled play and definitely should have gone ahead there. However, the Fire took the lead minutes later. Frankowski glided past Méndez and into the 18. Robert Beric played him the ball and Frankowski powered it into the back of the net.

Orlando’s best chance came in the 65th minute. Tesho Akindele played Nani in behind Chicago’s defense. Nani had time, but opted for the the first-time shot instead and never made good contact on it.

The Lions picked up the energy in the last 10 minutes, and the crowd noise got significantly louder. But Chicago’s defense held firm and did not break. Similar to the first half, the Fire finished the match with more possession (59%), shots (9-4), and shots on target (5-1).

At the end of the day, Lions fans will prefer the simulation that ran, in which the Lions won 3-0 on the strength of a Junior Urso brace. Dom Dwyer also scored in that simulation but it’s unlikely that he would have been ready to return after only training off to the side last week.

We will continue to bring you the season “as it would have happened” as the scheduled dates of games come and go.