Orlando City continued its record undefeated run with a 0-0 draw away from home to FC Dallas. The Lions have now gone eight games without a loss, winning five and drawing three of their last eight fixtures. Despite a number of chances for both sides against Dallas, neither team was able to break the deadlock and the match ended in a scoreless draw.
Here are my five takeaways from the match.
Good in Possession, Great on the Counter
While Orlando City had more possession on the night, it was through counter attacking efforts where the Lions looked the most dangerous. Nani and company were extremely effective on the break against Dallas and the best opportunities came courtesy of quick and direct play.
This season, Oscar Pareja has instilled a protagonistic way of playing that oftentimes sees the best chances during matches come through breaking down defenses with neat and precise passes. However, at Dallas, when Orlando City came close to scoring it was through quicker counter charges.
Presence of Rapid Ruan Sorely Missed
Unfortunately, Ruan was subbed off in the 23rd minute of the match through injury. The pacey Brazilian looked to have had an issue with his hamstring so Pareja was forced into making a change early on. After the right back came off, the Lions just did not look the same going forward down the right-hand side. Ruan adds an incredible amount of speed, power, and above all, directness to the side when he is on the pitch. The lack of his presence was glaringly obvious after he was hooked.
However, one positive is the fact that Ruan walked himself off of the pitch. Injuries are never good, but at least this one was not severe enough to the point where the Rio-born fullback had to be helped or stretchered off. Get well soon, Ruan!
Nani Keeps Taking Initiative
Nani took a match-high nine shots during the game. While only one was on target, the fact that the talisman has the confidence to take every chance that comes his way is a good thing in my book.
When one looks at the fact that the Orlando City player that took the second-most shots was Chris Mueller, who only registered two, it’s clear that the Lions need someone who is not scared to have a pop. Luckily, Orlando City does have a man willing to do so in Nani.
The 33-year-old did not quite get the ball into the back of the net this game, but he had many come close. As long as the captain keeps leading by example in this regard, the Lions will continue to score goals.
Sebas Mendez Red Card Could be Damaging
In the 69th minute, Sebas Mendez picked up a second yellow card that saw him sent off of the pitch. While it is slightly annoying that the first booking for the tenacious midfielder came because of time wasting, the Ecuadorian made a poor mistake for the acquiring of the second. The tackle he made from behind just five minutes after being booked was a dreadful lapse in judgement. Realistically, it could have repercussions for Orlando City going into the game against the New York Red Bulls.
Orlando City supporters will all be hoping that Uri Rosell is fit coming into the match at Exploria Stadium against the Red Bulls. If not, the Lions will be short in the central midfield department. Mendez made a mistake and accidents happen, but this cannot happen again. Especially not in the same, avoidable fashion in which it did against Dallas.
Gallese Finally Gets Clean Sheet
Even though Pedro Gallese has been terrific between the posts for Orlando City, the Peruvian has not gotten a clean sheet since the MLS is Back Round of 16 draw to the Montreal Impact on July 25. Prior to the previous one, the only other clean sheet for Gallese in an Orlando City shirt came in his debut at home to Real Salt Lake, which also ended 0-0.
El Pulpo made four saves on the night to protect the goal and secure his second league clean sheet for the club. Gallese and fans alike hope that the 30-year-old can get clean sheets to his name on a more regular basis. Who knows, maybe next time he can get one and Orlando City can win too.
That’s what caught my eye throughout the match. What did you see in Orlando City’s 0-0 stalemate on the road to FC Dallas?