Orlando City defeat MLS expansion minnows Inter Miami 2-1 in the opening match of the MLS is Back tournament.
HOW GOOD DID THAT FEEL? I REPEAT. HOW. GOOD. DID. THAT. FEEL?
My heart was THUMPING after that win against Outer Miami. All that trash-talking from the Broward County supporters was so annoying to hear, but after Wednesday's win, I'm so glad they did it because now they just look ridiculous. Every single one of them. I know exactly how bad that gut-punch Nani goal felt for them and I couldn't be happier about it. We have been on the receiving end of late goals for way too long now and it feels good to have our cardiac cats back.
With that spew of joy out of the way, I'm going to be changing up the match recaps a little bit. I used to just talk about the game, all the moments and goals and I gave my thoughts on stuff like that but you guys literally saw the game so instead of me just typing it out, I'm going to give you my three talking points from each match. I feel like that is way more effective than just spewing on about how I don't think Dwyer's chance was as simple as it looked. I'll also put in some clips of the goals and my player ratings. Please let me know if you like this setup better than the previous one (I beg of you).
1. Dwyer was bad, but he saved us.
There's really no other way to put it. Dom Dwyer was just bad. His off the ball movement was extremely poor, his passing was awful, his fouling was dangerous (smart, but dangerous), and he was basically invisible when he wasn't being bad. Before I get into why I think all of those things, I do want to preface this by saying that I really do want him to succeed but man he's at an all-time low on confidence at the moment. He will never show it, but the lack of confidence is clearly there.
Let's go in order. His off the ball movement was so ineffective. Y'all remember the Nani chipped cross to the back post? I had originally thought Nani messed that up but after rewatching it a few times, Dwyer literally hides behind the centerback to look for a cut-back that was never ever ever going to come. And that was just in the box. When it came to moving in order to be available for a pass, he seemed to just run away. I know that could have been an instruction from Pareja, but he was never available. In total, he only received 13 passes in 63 minutes. Of those 13 passes, only 3 were in the final third. Here's a chart of every pass he received.
Also, for comparison, Tesho Akindele received 13 passes as well, but he was only on the pitch for 37 minutes.
Dwyer went 6/11 (54.5%) in total for his passing. He only completed one forward pass. Not only did he not get the ball, but when he did get it, he was practically useless with it.
Now let's get to his fouling. I believe his fouls were smart to do but he was way too dangerous with them. Yes, he was trying to get into their heads, but he easily could've been given a yellow card for his fouls and, on any other day, he would've. He was very lucky that this referee was allowing such physical play. Not only that, but he did actually injure somebody and it's something we've seen him do before. It's obviously not meant to send someone to the hospital but it's dangerous and it needs to stop. There's fouling smart, and fouling dangerous and he's leaning way too far to the dangerous side.
That being said, the injury to Reyes did change the match completely. Miami wrongfully changed formation in order to bring on an injured Pizarro, leaving them less resolute on defense. Miami also lost all their momentum from their strong start to the second half. In my opinion, if Reyes doesn't go down, we probably don't find our way back into the game.
2. Rosell/Urso is the way to go
Look. We all love Mendez and he had a fantastic two games at the start of the season, but Urso and Rosell complement each other perfectly.
Let's start with Uri. The man was a machine on Wednesday. He made the most passes (60/70), the most ball recoveries (9), the second-most tackles (3) and, get this, the most passes into the final third (18/22), as our deepest midfielder. His defensive positioning was excellent throughout the match as well.
Now, Urso definitely had a less than spectacular performance, but at the end of the day, Urso is a less than spectacular player. We bought a player who is always going to deliver a minimum of a 6/10 performance and that is because he is secure in possession, solid on defense, and tactically intelligent. As the more attacking of the two midfielders, he didn't necessarily impress in that aspect but he did what he's good at, and that is being available for a pass. He received 20 passes throughout the game, which is pretty average but the thing I want you to look at is where he received the passes.
Everywhere. He's always available for an outlet and in terms of ball retention, that's insanely important. He's a big reason why we had 59% possession on Wednesday.
Together, the two complement each other perfectly. They both help with ball progression, they both help in the final third, and they both help on defense. The same can't fully be said when Mendez replaces either of them. Mendez has the ability, as he showed in the RSL game, but he can be inconsistent. For now, Uri/Urso is the perfect partnership until Mendez is ready to fully move into that more attacking role.
3. Stand up for Chris Mueller
I said it earlier this week but Mueller really deserves some credit. He showed today that he is ready to be our starting winger. Now, all we need to see is consistent performances like this one. That doesn't mean he has to score or assist in every game but he does need to be a contributor to our offense. On Wednesday, he was. He was extremely reliable on the ball (30/31 passes), had great off the ball movement as shown in his two chances (the goal and the Robles save), and he showed that he can create as well after the beautiful cross to Akindele.
It was a top-notch performance from someone that has received his fair share of criticism from me in the past.
Gallese - 5/10
Ruan - 5/10
Carlos - 5/10
Jansson - 8/10
Moutinho - 6/10
Urso - 6/10
Rosell - 9/10 MOTM
Mueller - 9/10
Pereyra - 7/10
Nani - 8/10
Dwyer - 1/10
Mendez - 6/10
Akindele - 8/10
Michel - 5/10
Perea - 3/10
Schlegel - N/A
If you liked what you read, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Please don't hesitate to let me know your thoughts on what I said. I really do enjoy having conversations with my fellow Orlando City fans about our team. That's why I started this blog/podcast in the first place.
'Til next time, this has been Gavin Rushnell and #VamosOrlando