Two Lessons from Orlando City's Win over Columbus

Oct 9, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja celebrates the win against Columbus
Oct 9, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja celebrates the win against Columbus / Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
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1. Late wins aren't a fluke.

The team had a run starting in late August in which it felt like they enjoyed waiting until the 90th minute to hit a game-winner. The trend didn't really start then, with Orlando already having had a couple such wins. Getting late goals can feel fluky. They don't count any more than a goal scored in the first quarter hour and while they might be memorable, scoring late isn't necessarily a repeatable skill. The Lions, though, are showing otherwise, and Sunday's game helped demonstrate why.

Reliable late wins comes from a mix of fitness, tactics, and depth. The team remained oddly patient
throughout the game, even as they fell behind and struggled to create quality chances, knowing that a draw wouldn't be enough for them. The patience paid off with Junior Urso goal. Benji Michel came in for Ercan Kara and, in a performance reminiscent of the U.S. Open Cup final, provided an energetic spark. His shot created the penalty that would give Orlando its win, and his legs helped hold the victory. Tactically, the team mixed steadiness and a more kinetic approach along with a slight halftime adjustment. Orlando's other starters battled for nearly 90 minutes, winning late balls, and as fatigue set in, a string of subs came in to hold down the lead. For once, Tesho Akindele came in to protect a lead and didn't have to score a last-minute goal.

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