Real Salt Lake (h) Match Recap
Orlando City rue missed chances in their 0-0 draw with Real Salt Lake.
Orlando City and Real Salt Lake battled to a 0-0 draw to kick off their respective seasons. While on paper it may have looked an even affair, it was anything but that. In the overall game, Orlando City held RSL to a total of 5 shots, only one of which forced a save out of debut GK Pedro Gallese. Orlando was structured well throughout the match and their defensive solidity caused them to have complete control over the game. Orlando's control of the match was clear after it was revealed that the Lions held Real Salt Lake to a mere 0.19 xG (expected goals), the lowest across the MLS.
Although Orlando was comfortable in defense, it was in the offensive phase where we struggled. It seemed to be a double whammy of issues for the Lions. The first was the creation of the chances themselves. While the Lions constantly got into dangerous areas, they struggled with their final delivery. The biggest culprits of this were Ruan and Mueller. The two right-sided players combined for 2 successful crosses out of 8 attempts (not counting corners). There were plenty of times where they should have found their target but a combination of poor decision-making and execution caused them to struggle with the final ball.
(An example of Ruan's struggles)
The other half of our offensive issues came when it was time to put the ball in the back of the net. The biggest chances of the game fell to Mueller and Urso, with Mueller unable to convert on his two chances. The miss I'd like to highlight the most is Mueller's in the 83rd minute. While his close-range shot just 10 minutes prior is the one getting all the attention, I believe this one is the more egregious miss. If you go back and watch it, RSL's goalkeeper Zac Macmath is in no man's land and all Mueller has to do is put the ball in the lower left-hand corner of the net. Instead, he leans back too much and sails his shot just over the crossbar.
(Mueller's miss in the 83rd minute)
Although the result can be seen as a disappointing one, there were plenty of promising performances that we saw. Pereyra showed his quality on and off the ball on multiple occasions, Moutinho looked more mature in his decision-making, and Urso looked very dependable in every situation. That being said, Mendez was the best performer on the night. The Ecuadorian midfielder looked like he was everywhere on Saturday and the stats seem to back that up. Mendez had the most shots, passes, take-ons, ball recoveries, and the second-most tackles out of all the players on the pitch. If he keeps this form up, opposing teams are really going to struggle to breakdown our defense.
All in all, we learned a lot and nothing at all. It is important to remember that it is only our first game of the season. A good sample size to make judgments on the team is around 5 games at a minimum. After that, we are able to look at certain trends that are starting to pop up. As of this moment in time, we shouldn't get too excited about our defense or too worried about our offense. Let's wait until after the Montreal game to do that.
Gallese - 6/10
Ruan - 6/10
Carlos - 7/10
Jansson - 7/10
Moutinho - 6/10
Urso - 7/10
Mendez - 9/10
Mueller - 6/10
Pereyra - 7/10
Michel - 5/10
Akindele - 6/10
Robinho - 5/10
Patino - 4/10
Perea - N/A
'Til next time, this has been Gavin Rushnell and #VamosOrlando