David Brekalo improvises to make Orlando CIty SC better

• A key element of the team’s improvement
• Improvises for success on the back line
• Stays in the same direction as teammates
May 11, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Orlando City defender David Brekalo (4) dribbles
May 11, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Orlando City defender David Brekalo (4) dribbles / Caean Couto-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City SC defender David Brekalo had supporters questioning where he fits in the plan to get the squad on track.

They got a hint in a recent match where Orlando started in a back-three formation – three defenders – leading to a win, breaking a streak of bad games. Brekalo was one of the three.

He’s an Orlando player that supporters have complained about after frustrating losses. Yet after the team’s stronger showings, his name scarcely gets spoken.

But his name did get called by the front office after the hard-fought draw with Inter Miami CF. After a string of frustrating games where the team faced opponents emphasizing that back-three formation, Brekalo took his position in that same formation for his team.

He’s a quick learner. Each match, he’s improved. This latest game, facing the MLS East Conference leading Inter Miami CF, he had his best game yet. He took a shot, enjoyed an 88% passing percentage, and won an aerial. And Orlando isn't yet known for In this.

Afterward, he explained how the team has become stronger, and he has become better.

It’s their training sessions. They not only drill against scheduled opponents, but learn every players’ characteristics.

That way Brekalo knows where his teammates will be in game situations. And they’ll know the same about him.

He described his role in the three-back line as requiring improvisation. Not everyone on the line is primarily a defender, as he explained. As the formation is designed, wingers fill in to solidify the line and shut down an attack.

While walking off the pitch with a draw against Inter Miami is nothing to feel badly about, head coach Oscar Pareja added that the extraordinary effort shown by the players means they could break through to win close battles like this.

Both Pareja and Brekalo speak to the direction the team is now taking. They’ll continue in this direction.

That’s the primary role for every player, as Brekalo puts it.

They did well. In Brekalo’s view, they’ll have to continue doing even better.