A 4-1 score line might lead one to believe that a match was very one-sided, but that really wasn’t the case in the home win for Orlando City last night against the Chicago Fire. A bit of luck, sloppiness, and relentlessness appear to be what this win was made of. This dub gives Orlando City Soccer Club 22 points and bumps the Lions to second in the Eastern Conference.
So, what can be learned from the Lions’ win at Exploria Stadium?
Chris Mueller Continues to be a Menace
The Money Badger came out swinging against the Fire. With an additional goal and assist added to his stat sheet last night, it’s clear that Chris Mueller can pose a threat on the attack. He was close to having additional chances if he’d been able to get his footing on the rain-soaked pitch.
It was early in the second half, however, when he turned his menacing powers on himself. His attempt to slow play on defense resulted in the Fire being rewarded a penalty. To be fair, Miguel Navarro did go down easily. Nevertheless, Robert Beric put it in the back of the net to put Chicago in the game and give them a little bit of hope.
In El Pulpo I Trust
We all know why the keeper has the nickname “the Octopus,” but last night we really got a chance to see why. Even after going down on his shoulder wrong early in the first half, Pedro Gallese continued to come up big for his team. With an amazing save in the 36th minute on the penalty kick the Fire fought over, and the massive stop on Gaston Gimenez in the 54th minute, Gallese kept the hope alive for the Lions, and ultimately helped lead the team to victory.
I’m not sure if it was Chicago Fire’s relentless attack or what, but the back line felt sloppy, forcing El Pulpo to bail them out all night. Thankfully, the Lions have Gallese in the net on whom they can count. The same could be said for the Fire’s defense when you look at the fact that both teams fired 19 shots. In case you’re like me and needed to read that another way, in a 90-minute match we saw 38 collective shots. Set pieces and corners continue to be an area with room for growth.
Maybe it was just me missing Joao Moutinho, but the back line just felt really quiet and seemed to rely a lot on the rest of the team dropping back to help.
There’s no question that Oscar Pareja and his coaching staff have had the biggest impact on Orlando City’s game play. Whether it’s his tactical changes, or the collective buy-in from the players on his methods, this team really seems to be hitting its stride. Sometimes it may appear scarier, or sloppier than we may like, but they’re consistently getting results.
Sure, the Lions gave up another early, second-half goal, but they didn’t have any goals waved off, they didn’t fight over who should take free kicks, and — for a change — scored a nice, last-minute goal in stoppage. This team has been fun to watch again, and when they turn it on, they’re trying to make the most of their chances. We’re seeing unselfish, team effort resulting in goals.
In a twisted turn of events, video review continues to do the thing where it makes game-changing decisions, but this time in Orlando’s favor. The Chicago Fire scored in the 27th minute off a set piece after Junior Urso committed a silly foul. After video review, it was determined that the goal would not stand and was waved off due to obstruction by a player in an offside position.
In what many were certain was the equalizer for Chicago in the 56th minute, we got another video review. Much to the Fire players’ dismay, that goal was overturned too — this time for a handball prior to the goal. It may have been in that moment that the Lions were truly able to double down.
That’s what I took away from this wild, twilight zone of a match, anyway. Be sure to tell us what you took away from the 4-1 win at home in the comments.