LOU vs. OCB: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

If we've started to learn one thing about the cities under the Orlando City umbrella in 2016, an early takeaway seems to be that they don't like temperatures under 50 degrees. I think that makes them spiritual kindred of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who for decades displayed the inability to win games on the road in the NFC North after October. This weekend has seen two matched played by Orlando City teams in temperatures under 50 degrees (that's Fahrenheit for you alien weirdos and your goofy temperature scales outside the USA), and both resulted in losses.

The Good

  • Michael Cox - Cox opened his 2016 account with a goal early in the match at the five minute mark. OCB started strong, with an active attack that saw the lads spending the first few minutes giving Louisville City keeper Scott Goodwin headaches galore as they threatened the goal before Cox found the back of the net.
  • Richie Laryea - Orlando City's MLS draft pick for 2016 showed his quality by setting up the Cox goal with a great assist.
  • Louisville City FC's Attack - Louisville City started the match seeming a bit disoriented and confused, which the hometown YouTube commentators seemed to imply was something of a hangover from their recent loss to the New York Red Bulls USL affiliate club. But just as some professional boxers and MMA fighters seem to be brought into focus when an opponent lands an effective but non-damaging punch to the nose or jaw, the early goal by OCB seemed to wake up Louisville City, and they pretty much took control of the match from that point.

The Bad

  • Porous Defense - Louisville City plays in a baseball stadium, historic Slugger Field, and soccer pitches on baseball diamonds are notoriously tricky for teams like OCB that like to play with a wide shape. On the other hand, it favors home teams that have built their attack around the narrower dimensions, and that showed as Louisville City seemed to grab a quick possession advantage shortly after the OCB early goal and never let go. And they used that possession advantage to make continual shots on goal, ultimately finishing the match with a 15 - 5 advantage over the visiting side.
  • Poor Passing - I must admit to being a bit frustrated with the USL for not keeping more robust statistics on their matches. I like to watch matches as a fan, which gives me an impression of the game, and then go back to verify my impressions by analyzing the stats. Unfortunately the USL doesn't track stats like duels won, tackles won, passing percentage, or even possession percentage. But every time I looked at the screen, it seemed like I was seeing Louisville City intercept an errant or lazy pass from one of the white-clad OCB players to another teammate.

The Ugly

  • Broadcast Amateur Hour - Next time you catch an OCB home match on YouTube, be sure you send a tweet to Jeff Radcliffe and Tom Traxxler to thank them for their professionalism. Because this duo have the experience and presence to call MLS matches, they come off as miles more professional than most of the USL broadcast teams you will find. There is plenty of local charm with the Louisville City broadcast team: if you want to know a lot about the local craft beers and good eateries and typical seasonal weather in Louisville for your next vacation, you can learn a lot from watching a Louisville City FC match. But you'll also have to put up with a lot of bad puns and poorly quoted movie memes along the way.

Call for Writers - OCB Coverage

Do you go to every OCB match? Are you a member of the Harbor City Hooligans? Would you like a place to publish your views and opinions on every match? Let me know--I need someone to provide more in-depth coverage of OCB and the important role it plays both as a member of USL and in the larger Orlando City SC family of soccer clubs, both as an aspiration for Academy players and a launching pad for professional soccer careers.