Orlando City lacking a level of class in the final third
I've lamented the lack of quality in Orlando's attack so much that it's almost comical. As I watched MLS on Saturday night, I focused in on two games. Obviously I was narrowed in on the Lions struggling to break through the Union, but I also saw a rejuvenated Toronto FC run rampant over Charlotte.
That's a team reborn with a level of talent that's seemingly unfathomable in Major League Soccer, but there's something to the way the Reds attacked with Lorenzo Insigne and Federicho Bernadeschi, and really all good MLS teams attack: class.
Whether it's $50 million worth of wingers like in Toronto or the front three of Dallas combining in the box, good attacks have a level of class on the ball around the box.
What I mean by class is mostly technical quality. Not just the ability to rip a shot or blow by defenders, but the ability to receive a pass in tight areas. In the final third, the ability to control a pass and make a move is vital. That ability is where goals come from.
Orlando desperately lacks that class in the box.
Whenever Orlando goes on the front foot, the attack falls apart because somebody mishandles a ball or scuffs a pass killing the chance. Even the best players on the team like Facundo Torres and Mauricio Pereyra are prone to this and tend to bobble passes in high value positions.
This is not an area that Orlando had struggled in over the last few seasons, at least not to this degree, and that's all because of Nani. The veteran winger had so much poise and technical skill that the ball stuck to his foot like glue. Even if the pieces around him were at times suspect, there was always one person who could get the ball on his foot and do something with it in the box.
Can Facundo Torres and Ercan Kara and the rest of this attacking core develop a little bit more poise and class in tight areas? It's tough to say. In spurts, this group has shown the quality to combine in the box and create those high level scoring opportunities, but that chemistry and class is nowhere to be seen.
The one exception to that rule is Alexandre Pato, The Brazilian just exudes on ball quality and when he's in the game, Orlando's danger level always increases. Pato is magic with the ball at his feet, but can somebody else deliver?
It's not a question of talent for Orlando City. The Lions have high quality players, but they lack a level of composure and refinement in the box, now five months into this season. For Orlando to save its attack, class needs to be in session.