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Orlando City at FC Cincinnati: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from Orlando City’s road win against bottom of the table FC Cincinnati?

MLS: Orlando City SC at FC Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City is in a very tight race in the Eastern Conference, and every point counts. The Lions were able to go on the road and bring back three points from the Queen City. Orlando City didn’t play its best match, and there was plenty of controversy by the end of the match, but the Lions were still able to come away with a 1-0 win. What can we learn from Orlando City’s second win in a row?

Sloppy Passing and Giveaways

FC Cincinnati wanted to change its fortunes against Orlando City. Riding a six-match losing streak is no fun. I honestly expected that Orlando City would have the better of the possession and that Cincy would look to attack on the counter. In reality, Cincy ended up with 53% of the possession to Orlando City’s 47%. A big reason for the Lions not retaining the ball was the 14 interceptions that Cincy made. I don’t know if it was rust from the international break or something else, but the Lions made too many errant passes against the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

Possession with a Purpose

Óscar Pareja wants his team to have a purpose for their possession, and it did for some of the night. The Lions managed 18 shots with five on goal as compared to Cincinnati’s nine shots with three on target. Orlando City should have scored more goals than it did, but given the Lions had less of the overall possession, the team did what was needed thanks to Júnior Urso’s goal and Pedro Gallese’s saves.

Two Shining Moments

There was something Orlando City’s coaches saw in the match planning for FC Cincinnati that they wanted to implement, and Urso was the person who got the message. Very early in the game, Urso started shooting from outside the area. His second try found the mark and he was able to give Orlando City the winning goal. It was a spot-perfect shot that Przemysław Tytoń wasn’t able to get despite laying out for the attempt.

The next bit of brilliance came from Gallese as he made an excellent reaction save on Geoff Cameron in the 24th minute that kept the lead for Orlando City. The save came on a set piece, and honestly I thought there was no way to keep the ball out, but somehow El Pulpo did. He may have won MLS Save of the Week with that bit of magic.

The Goal That Wasn’t a Goal

In the 84th minute Tesho Akindele smashed a shot into the crossbar and seemingly stayed out of the goal. [Narrator voice: “It didn’t.”]

Upon replay on the television, it very obviously landed behind the line for a goal. The play didn’t appear to ever go to review and the referee never seemed to go to his earpiece as if in discussion about it. Even the Cincinnati players initially stopped as if the goal had been scored. This is exactly the type of thing that can doom a team when only up one goal on the road. Fortunately for Orlando City, it didn’t end up making a difference, though it was close.

The Penalty Shout

In the first minute of second-half stoppage time, Rodrigo Schlegel’s arm made contact with the head/neck area of Brandon Vazquez in the area and it could have been called a penalty. Cincinnati players were incensed, but referee Marcos de Oliveira didn’t call it. This time, however, VAR Fotis Bazakos did review it, and Orlando City supporters felt this was certainly how the Lions would concede the equalizer.

De Oliveira went to the monitor to look at the play again, and he again ruled no penalty. Orlando was awarded a free kick. Whether it was due to Nick Hagglund’s interference with Schlegel in an attempt to free up Vazquez before the contact, the unlikelihood Vazquez would have gotten on the end of the service, or just a makeup for not looking at the Akindele goal again, only de Oliveira knows for sure.

That is what I saw in the match, but let me know your thoughts in the comments below.