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Orlando City vs. Nashville: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from the Lions’ first win against the Tennessee-based expansion side?

Nashville SC v Orlando City SC Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Orlando City defeated Nashville SC 3-1 in the club’s first match in Exploria Stadium in 180 days. As it turned out, it was also the Lions’ first home victory in 379 days. That is a long time to wait, and fortunately some supporters were able to be there in person. Let’s take a look at what those lucky people saw in the Lions’ first win following the MLS is Back Tournament.

Give One Up, Get One Back

As they have all too often, the Lions gave up the first goal of the game. It came on a set piece in the 15th minute. The other thing that Orlando City has done recently is to not panic when going down a goal. In fact, Orlando seemed to refocus after Nashville’s goal, and that paid dividends in the 21st minute when João Moutinho made a nice move on the left side of the box, and found Chris Mueller, who was already on the ground, for the most interesting header so far this season. It was at this point that Orlando City truly started to assert its will in the match.

The Numbers Didn’t Lie

Under Oscar Pareja, Orlando City has become a club that focuses on possession and passing. That trend continued against Nashville as the Lions held 61.1% possession, and had an 88% passing rate. Too many times Orlando City has not converted its chances on goal and it has cost the club points. That was not the case against Nashville, as the Lions took 17 shots, with eight on target. Of those eight shots on goal, three found the back of the net. That is a conversion rate of 17.6% goals to shots, and 37.5% goals to shots on goal.

Full Team Attack

I’ve spoken about the team defending we saw from Orlando City in the MLS is Back Tournament, but last night we saw team attacking. All of the usual players were involved, including Moutinho and Ruan, but so was Robin Jansson, Junior Urso, and Sebas Mendez. Jansson actually found himself with the ball in the attacking half and space in front of him. Moutinho made the assist on Mueller’s goal, and Urso should have scored at least one goal if not for a great performance from Joe Willis.

Transitions through the Midfield

When Orlando City won the ball in the midfield, the players did very well to quickly move the ball into the attack. It was exactly this type of transition that led to both of Daryl Dike’s goals. Quick, deliberate passes through the opposition are exactly the type of possession that Pareja wants from this club. Mauricio Pereyra, Nani, and Mueller were integral to the forward movement, though Mendez, Uri Rosell and even Dike contributed to the effort.

Dike’s World

The Rookie started his second match in a row, and he is showing he can be a threat despite being new to professional soccer. Dike’s physical presence demands that center backs take him seriously, and he’s creating space for the other players around him. He almost scored in the 12th minute, but his one timer went just wide of goal. Then, in the 52nd minute, he got his second goal in two games to give Orlando City the lead. The rookie took a blow to the head, and had to be bandaged because he was bleeding. All he did after that was to score his second goal of the game in the 71st minute. It was then we were given the best goal celebration of the night (and possibly the season), when he pantomimed a zombie, or Frankenstein’s monster. It might have even been a mummy. Regardless, it was the perfect celebration given the wrapping around Dike’s noggin.

The only question I need answered below is which horror character was Dike miming during his goal celebration?