Orlando City went on the road to Ohio to take on the Columbus Crew at Lower.com Field, coming away with a 2-0 win and all three points on the road. It was a very well played match from Orlando City. Here are our five takeaways from the match.
No Pato, No Problem
Óscar Pareja made a few changes to the starting lineup against the Crew. Most significantly, there was no Alexandre Pato. In his stead, Benji Michel got the start, as did Kyle Smith in place of Ruan. While both players went the full 90 minutes, neither was as good as the players they replaced. However, neither made any costly mistakes, and gave Pato and Ruan a rest while contributing to a win on the road.
Another Set Piece Goal (Sort of)
For the second week in a row, Orlando City scored off a set piece — or in this case, in the aftermath of one. The ball did have to take a few touches to finally go in, but it gave Orlando City the lead. When I say a “few” touches, I actually mean six. Mauricio Pereyra sent it to Facundo Torres on the left side of the box, rather than going more direct. Torres put into the box, João Moutinho headed it across goal to Ercan Kara, who tapped it back out to Torres for his second cross. This time Junior Urso ran on to the ball putting it towards goal for Rodrigo Schlegel to redirect it in for his first goal as a Lion. It’s not officially a set piece goal but it was set up by one.
Kara Strikes Again
Ercan Kara scored his second goal in purple and he even helped set himself up. It was truly a team goal, as Orlando City deftly moved the ball through the middle of the pitch and onto Kara’s foot. Kara made a nifty back heel to Torres, who sent it right back to Kara. The big Austrian then spun around the outside of the defender, and sent a right-footed shot into the lower right corner of the goal to give the Lions a two goal lead. This goal was a thing of beauty and it showed both Kara’s willingness to be giving, but also take the shot when necessary.
Bend But Don’t Break
Unlike matches against Nashville FC or the Chicago Fire, this match was an open affair. There was lots of action on both sides of the pitch, and none of that bunkering down and making it unwatchable. Frankly, it was nice. Of course, that means that defending for Orlando City needed to happen up and down the field. To give you an idea of how well the Lions did that, Columbus took 17 shots, but only three were on target. The biggest threat from the Crew was Lucas Zelarayán, and Orlando City managed to keep him off the score sheet. He did have a few free kick opportunities, but again, nothing came from it.
The Front Four Do the Job
Prior to the match, Columbus manager Caleb Porter mentioned that Orlando City’s front four attack is the best that the Lions have ever fielded. He spoke of Pato, Kara, Torres, and Pereyra. He’s not wrong, but the Lions didn’t need all four to take care of the Crew. Columbus had the unfortunate luck to run into Orlando City just as Pereyra, Torres, and Kara are getting to know one another. This attacking group could become the best the Lions have ever fielded, and it should get better. Add Pato back into the lineup and it will be.
That is what I took away from the win in Columbus. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.