Colorado (a) Match Recap
Orlando City loses 2-1 in Colorado in heartbreaking fashion.
Orlando dropped its first match of the season after a late Colorado goal broke Orlando City's hearts. Although it ended in defeat, there were plenty of positives to take from the match.
Let's start where we usually do, with the lineup. Orlando, contrary to the social media picture, rolled out in a very fluid 5-3-2 formation. I say fluid because it would rapidly (pun intended) change from a 5-3-2 in defense to either a 4-4-2 or a 3-5-2 in attack depending on whether Smith pushed up the right side or not. At first glance, the main surprises were the inclusion of Kyle Smith and Andres Perea. We soon learned that the regular starters, Ruan and Pereyra, were unavailable to start and the surprise inclusions weren't so surprising after all.
Getting into the game, Orlando started off as the better team. They created some decent scoring chances and kept Colorado away from the goal. Unfortunately, the team did not take advantage of their control and as the half wore on, Colorado grew into the game. Around the 25th minute, we had a shot from Mendez but after that, we lost all control of the game. By the looks of it, Colorado slightly changed their system by pushing their fullbacks a little higher to get into the spaces left by our wingbacks. This action pushed their whole team forward a couple of yards and we struggled to get out of our own defensive third for the rest of the half.
The second half started off in one of the weirdest ways I've ever seen. For starters, Schlegel looked as though he got knocked unconscious for a few seconds after he collided with Mendez's shoulder. But, instead of having the medical team come on and evaluate him, he hopped straight up a few seconds later and carried on as though nothing happened. This was quite surprising to me due to how strict the MLS has been on concussion protocol over the past few years.
The other strange instance came a minute later when Tesho Akindele was called offside on a throw-in. If you aren't aware, and I know everyone is, offsides can not be called on a throw-in. I know this. You know this. But apparently the people getting paid to know this don't. It didn't really affect anything but this is just another example of how rough the refereeing is in the MLS.
Back to the match, the second half was filled with talking points. The first popped up in the 55th minute when Drew Moor took Tesho Akindele down from behind while he was on a breakaway. Many fans have a few different viewpoints on the situation. Some feel that he should've had a yellow card from a dangerous tackle a minute prior and therefore been given a second yellow. Others feel that it should've been a red card regardless of the outcome of the first tackle. I, for once, disagree with both takes. In regards to the first challenge, the referee had only given 2 yellow cards prior to that challenge and was really letting the game get physical. I'd understand if he had been giving yellows left, right, and center but he was letting those types of tackles slide.
I don't agree with the second take because of the other defender in the area. Lalas Abubakar was right next to Akindele at the time of the Moor challenge and it would be reasonably expected that he would've been able to make a challenge on the ball, thus DOGSO does not apply for me.
The next thing to discuss is the first goal. Colorado was really dominating the game at this point and strung together a very good passing move which ended with Kellyn Acosta being surrounded by four Orlando City players. Somehow though, we didn't win the ball. Instead, Acosta chipped the ball over their heads and it fell to Perea, who half-cleared it. The ball instantly came back into Namli's feet who turned, dribbled right up the middle uncontested, and placed the ball expertly into the bottom right corner. There was nothing Gallese could do about it and we found ourselves 1-0 down.
I wanted to pick out two players in this play. The first is Andres Perea. Chase, on the most recent episode, pointed this out to me. Not only does Perea initially clear the ball poorly, but he also overcommits and gets turned by Younes Namli. While both came early on in the grand scheme of the goal, they were still small moments that contributed to it. The important thing here is that Perea identifies these small mistakes and makes sure that he does better in the next situation that comes his way.
The other player I wanted to single out was Antonio Carlos. He was very flat-footed and didn't step to try and block the shot. His only excuse was that a player made a run to his right and he may have stayed back to cover that lane in case Namli went for the pass. For me, this is a reach and I was pretty disappointed in him on this goal.
After their goal, the Lions responded well. Obviously Colorado was going to sit back after going 1-0 up but we found ourselves getting in decent positions more often. We still were lacking in the final third though and weren't nearly as dangerous as we needed to be. Enter Chris Mueller. The Wisconsin University forward came in and made an instant impact. He latched onto a beautiful through ball from Andres Perea after making a good off the shoulder run and clinically placed the ball into the net past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Orlando looked like they were going to earn a well deserved 1-1 draw on the road until a heartbreaking goal went in at the end of the ninety minutes. It was no surprise that the goal came from a set-piece after seeing that Colorado scored the most set-piece goals last season. Again, I feel the need to single out Antonio Carlos on this play. All there is to say is he is 6'3 and he got outjumped by a 6'0 Drew Moor. I don't care how tired he is after playing 89 minutes at altitude. He needs to be switched on and make sure he wins that header. That's what he's getting paid to do.
It may seem like I am very pessimistic about the team after complaining about most of the second half but I am actually still happy with most of what I saw. We had a very solid structure and deserved more than what we got out of the game. That is all without some of our best players in Nani, Pereyra, and Ruan in the starting lineup.
Gallese - 5/10
Smith - 5/10
Carlos - 4/10
Jansson - 6/10
Schlegel - 6/10
Moutinho - 6/10
Urso - 5/10
Mendez - 6/10
Perea - 7/10
Michel - 4/10
Akindele - 4/10
Ruan - 5/10
Pereyra - 5/10
Mueller - 6/10