There is little joy in The Wall today after a loss to Minnesota United FC last night at Orlando City Stadium. Coach Adrian Heath, Kevin Molino, and the rest of the Loons stole three points, and it must have served as another satisfying bit of revenge for Coach Heath to take three points in his first visit to Orlando City Stadium, a stadium that wouldn't exist without his efforts in proving that Orlando could support an MLS side. There's a part of me that can't help feeling happy for Coach Heath, even though my heart hurts that my team dropped all three points at home.
But what hurts most is my concern over Stefano Pinho. The 2017 NASL Golden Boot winner signed by OCSC in the off-season went down heavily in the 28th minute with an ankle injury just on the edge of Minnesota's six-yard box. Pinho had to be removed from the pitch on a stretcher and Chris Mueller entered the game and played the remainder of the match.
- Lots of Shots - Orlando City dominated the statistical categories for offense in the match everywhere except the scoreboard. Orlando City led in shots (20 to 9), Shots on Target (4 to 3), Corners (9 to 4), and Crosses (35 to 13). This team is creating a lot of chances, and any team needs chances in order to create goal scoring opportunities.
- Possession and Passing - Orlando City also had a comfortable edge in controlling the ball in meaningful ways. The home side led in Total Passes (433 to 315), Key Passes (9 to 5), Passing Accuracy (83% to 74%), and Possession (58.8% to 41.2%). These are all positives. But at the end of the day, it's still NGE (Not Good Enough) if those positives don't result in goals going into the back of the net, as my buddy likes to say.
- Deep Stats Lacking - Over the past few years I've talked to several coaches about keys to the game, and one constant refrain I've heard from them comes from looking at three key stats: Duels Won, Tackles Won, and Clearances. Duels and Tackles tell you about the ability of a team to gain possession and take chances away from the opponent, while Clearances tell you about the ability of a team to defend chances that the opponent creates. Orlando City won only one of those categories last night. They had a slight edge in Duels Won (48 to 46), but they were on the short end of Tackles Won (9 to 14), and they were thoroughly humiliated in Clearances (14 to 40).
- Inattentive Defending - Both of the goals from Minnesota's Ethan Finlay resulted from Orlando City's defensive line losing track of multiple opponents simultaneously. In the first half, Kevin Molino seemed to be able to cut deep into Orlando City's defense at will, unmarked, and he was able to pass the ball to teammates that were also able to get separation from defenders. For all the speed and recovery we saw from the defense against DC United, the Minnesota match brought back disturbing echoes of 2017's leaky back line.
- Pinho's Injury - Having not followed NASL, I'm not sure if players from that league are prone to hysteria and over-reaction. But presuming the apparent pain is genuine, I'm a bit leery of what the news will be concerning Stefano Pinho's diagnosis. Early reports indicate there was some kind of ankle injury, but whether it was a sprain or something with the ACL or a different injury doesn't seem apparent at the moment. Pinho was on crutches by the end of the game, and in post-match comments, Coach Jason Kreis indicated he did not know what the injury was.
Tomorrow I will start my week-long look at the NYCFC vs. OCSC match on the blog.
What were your thoughts on the match last night? Did you see other signs of hope or did something else stand out to you as a concern? Let me know in the comments below!