Orlando City will take on its first repeat opponent of the season when the Lions match up against the Chicago Fire this Saturday at 1 p.m. at Exploria Stadium. Let’s dive into a statistical breakdown between the Lions and their next opponent, the Chicago Fire.
Orlando and Chicago have relatively similar offensive stats so far in this young MLS season. The Lions have a slight advantage over the Fire in goals scored this year (7-5). Similarly, both sides have been doing their damage in close proximity to the net, with each club scoring all of its goals inside the box. It is important to note, especially so early in the season, that Orlando has played six games and Chicago has played five. However, if we break this down to goals per game, the Lions still have a slight edge, with 1.2 goals per game compared to the Fire, who have averaged exactly one goal per game. Chicago has been getting slightly more scoring opportunities per game than Orlando (11.4-10.2). The Fire also have the slightest of advantages in accurate shooting percentage, hitting their intended target 33.3% of the time, which ranks 15th in the league, while the Lions are shooting at 32.8%, which puts them tied for 16th in MLS.
One area that Orlando has been consistently better than Chicago has been in passing statistics. The Lions are tied for seventh in passing accuracy in MLS, landing 82.1% of passes successfully. The Fire sit 22nd in MLS in this category, with a percentage of 77.3% thus far. Orlando has also been much more accurate with long ball passes this year. The Lions rank eighth in the league connecting on long balls at an impressive clip of 50.9%, whereas the Fire sit all the way down in 24th, with an accuracy of 41% on long balls. Orlando has been attacking the forward zone with impressive accuracy as well, averaging 195.8 accurate forward zone passes per game. Compare this with Chicago, which has averaged 152.2 accurate forward zone passes per game, and this is one area in which Orlando has a clear advantage.
This is the side of the ball where the undefeated Chicago Fire have thrived this season. Chicago has only allowed one goal in its five games, putting together an impressive four clean sheets as well. (Note: this obviously doesn’t count the goal the Lions scored in Chicago that was wrongfully disallowed after video review.) Orlando has been decent in this department as well, having clean sheets in half of the club’s six games and giving up seven goals this season, four of which came in the last game against LAFC. One reason the Fire have been so efficient defensively is because they only allow an average of 2.2 shots on goal per game with a save percentage of 90.9% on those shots, which ranks first in the league. The Lions are allowing opponents 3.2 shots on goal per game, which is only one more shot per game than the Fire. However, the Lions’ save percentage has been much worse, as they rank 21st in MLS in this category with a percentage of 63.2%. Chicago also ranks third in the league in total interceptions, with 74, which is much more than Orlando, which is tied for 14th with 52 interceptions. The one defensive category that the Lions have been better in this season has been dual percentage. Orlando has the third-best dual percentage, winning its duals at rate of 54.8% compared to Chicago, which is 11th best in this category at 51.5%.
Orlando and Chicago will be meeting for the second time this season on Saturday after the last meeting between the clubs ended in a 0-0 draw. As far as possession is concerned in the last match-up, neither club was dominant in having control of the game flow as Chicago barely edged Orlando with a possession percentage of 51.3%. Orlando only got five shots against Chicago, putting none of those shots on goal. On the other hand, Chicago attempted nine shots against Orlando, putting four on target. The Lions and Fire both had 12 crosses, but the Fire were much more precise, connecting on 37.5% of those opportunities compared to the Lions’ percentage of 13.3%. Overall pass percentage was slightly in favor of the Lions, who connected on 72.7% of their passes compared to the Fire’s 72.3%. The two clubs performed similarly on defense in their last match-up. Chicago slightly outperformed Orlando in clearances (17-15) and in blocked shots (3-2). The one defensive category in which Chicago was significantly better than Orlando was tackles won (16-6).
These are the important statistics with which to compare Orlando and Chicago in anticipation for their upcoming match-up. Let me know what you think in the comments and as always, Go Orlando!