Orlando City takes first place in Group A after their 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union
That's right. Orlando City actually got first place in their group. Who saw that coming? I know we all said that we have the ability to get through this group, but how many of us predicted us to get first? If you did, props to you for getting it right. I'll hold my hands up and say that I got it wrong. I thought we would finish second or third. I guess that's just my Orlando City PTSD talking. A massive congratulations to the boys for a great start to the tournament. Long may it continue. Alright, onwards to my three talking points.
1. A new culture is brewing
I think we can all agree that the culture around the club since we started in 2015 has been one of failure. We have been the mockery of the league. The outside opinion is that we can't win big games, we can't keep a manager, we can't defend, we can't attack, we can't be taken seriously and to be frank, this opinion isn't *that* wrong. Before this tournament, we failed to beat our main rivals in 8 attempts, we sacked 3 managers in 4 years, we held the record for most goals conceded in a season (until FC Cincinnatti came along), and last year we had the 5th worst attack in the entire league.
We all know this. We have been a bad club since joining the league. But that's changing. We came in and got first in our group. Not only did we get first, but we deserved first. Achievements like that help grow a winning culture around the club. It may seem small, but a winning culture is so important to gaining success. Why do you think Seattle v Toronto has been the MLS Cup Final for three out of the last four years? It's because both of those clubs have a winning culture. Getting first place in the group will help us along our path to creating and growing a winning culture at our club.
2. Ruan Ruan Ruan...
I'm just going to start this point off with a quote from the match preview article:
"Ruan must replicate his crossing output from the NYCFC match if we are to get anything out of this match."
Now let me show you his stats:
Passes into the penalty area (2/6):
What a horrible final third output from Ruan. He got himself into dangerous crossing positions a minimum of eight times in this match (there are some instances where he decided not to cross when he could have) and only produced one successful cross. Just look at his crossing positions. Even if he completes one more cross/pass into the box, we probably score. His output was terrible last night and after a promising display against NYCFC, this is quite disappointing.
3. Bad decisions, bad execution
This isn't necessarily something that shows up in the stats so I don't have any major proof for this point but our decision-making last night was awful. We were dribbling instead of passing, shooting high instead of low, passing left instead of right, slide tackling instead of shadowing, shooting instead of crossing. Our decision-making was plain awful and it was widespread throughout the team. Making the right decisions at the right time is what makes a good footballer a great footballer and a good team a great team. Unfortunately for us last night, we made the wrong decisions at that right time.
Not only that but when we did make the correct decisions, our execution was just as bad. I know I just pinpointed Ruan, but Moutinho had an equally bad performance on offense. Moutinho went 0/4 on crosses and 0/3 on square passes into the penalty area. That means that our two wing-backs, who needed to have good offensive games due to Philadelphia leaving their wings exposed, combined for a grand total of one successful cross from crossing positions in 15 attempts. Not good enough.
Gallese - 7/10
Ruan - 3/10
Carlos - 7/10
Jansson - 6/10
Moutinho - 4/10
Urso - 8/10
Rosell - 6/10
Mueller - 5/10
Pereyra - 9/10 MOTM
Nani - 5/10
Akindele - 5/10
Mendez - 5/10
Michel - 5/10
Patino - N/A
Perea - 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