Orlando City hosted the Inter team from Ft. Lauderdale in a midweek rivalry match. There are those times when a draw feels like a win, and of course there are times when a draw feels like a loss. While I don’t know that the 1-1 result truly felt like a loss, it certainly felt like a lost opportunity for points. What can we learn from the disappointing match against Miami?
Miami in the Middle
Orlando City started the match wanting to play up the middle, but Miami was able to keep things clogged up. For the first 20 minutes or so, the Lions were giving the ball away too easily, at least when they weren’t being fouled. Miami committed 10 fouls in the first half, keeping Orlando City from generating a sustained attack.
The Lions made an adjustment and moved the attack out to the right. With Ruan, Chris Mueller, and even Nani at times, Orlando City was able to unlock the Miami defense. Once the Lions did, that opened up the middle up, and allowed more space to move the ball. The end result, just before the half, was the first goal of the match by Antonio Carlos.
Carlos’ Head and Header
Antonio Carlos scored the first goal of the match, but it was a costly one. After contacting the ball, Carlos and Kelvin Leerdam made head-to-head contact, and Carlos went down in a heap. Leerdam’s forehead hit Carlos on the side of the head right at the top of his jaw. The goal came off a cross from Nani, and was a thing of beauty, for the half of second before the injury. Carlos came off the field to be evaluated, and given it was so close to the end of the half, Orlando City saw it out without Carlos. Though the medical staff reported he didn’t suffer a concussion, he was subbed off for Rodrigo Schlegel to start the second half.
Magic Mo Moments
Mauricio Pereyra showed once again why his is Orlando City’s number 10. The magician did well when on the ball, including several one-touch passes to put teammates into the scoring positions. His vision and touch on the ball were at a Designated Player level, as is the expectation. He also delivered some longer pinpoint passes into the attack. It’s unfortunate that his teammates weren’t able to take advantage of his generosity.
The Captain and the Soldier
Nani continues to defy the tenets of time, going the full 90 minutes plus stoppage once again. He provided the assist on Orlando City’s goal, along with plenty of other excellent play. He battled individual Miami players with his usual disdain, and total bewilderment at the lack of fouls and penalties earned. In other words, he was a very Nani-like Nani.
Óscar Pareja’s El Soldado, also known as Kyle Smith, put in his normal 90 minutes plus stoppage. He gave his usual 110%. He almost scored a goal in the 39th minute, but his header went wide. He certainly made up for it when his goal-line header saved a goal on the other end. Of course, he almost gave it back right after that on a bad pass, but even so, if he had scored that goal, I’d have given him my man of the match.
After Miami evened it in the 66th minute, the Lions thought they had re-taken the lead in the 82nd minute when Smith’s cross bounced out of Nick Marsman’s hands and to the feet of Tesho Akindele, who did what strikers do, and put it in the net. Celebrations commenced, and the teams started moving back to midfield. But then, a Greek tragedy broke out as the referee (rightly) disallowed the goal after video review due to Akindele being offside on the buildup to the goal. Orlando had plenty of opportunities to put the match away, but in the end was unable to do so.
That is what I saw in the match, but let me know your thoughts in the comments below.