Why when Orlando City SC comes back, it won't be pretty

Orlando City SC v CF Montreal
Orlando City SC v CF Montreal / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Orlando City SC goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has the briefest, most concise analysis of what’s wrong with the team.

It’s a bad run is how goalkeeper Pedro Gallese explains what’s wrong. Orlando City SC keeps analyzing and drilling, using what scouts report about the next opponent.

And for the past four matches, each opposing team picked their best starting 11 and lined them up in the back-three formation. Over those matches, Orlando has posted a 1-1-2 record.

They’ve shown declining form during that stretch. First, they beat D.C. United 3-2. Then they drew C.F. Montreal 2-2. They lost to Toronto F.C. 2-1 and FC Cincinnati 1-0.

In each match, whether players on the pitch or supporters in the stands, everyone appears to plummet into an increasing state of confusion and frustration.

Even in this football maelstrom, Gallese sees just what’s up. He added that this bad run won’t last forever. He said there were plenty of games left to and the squad would keep pushing forward. Head coach Oscar Pareja also said the team would face forward and push.

May 4, 2024; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese (1) leaps for the ball in
May 4, 2024; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese (1) leaps for the ball in / Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

The Push

But what will push look like on the pitch for Orlando City?

They will continue using their favored 4-2-3-1 formation. That’s the one best suited to personnel now on the roster.

What will they do in that formation? With a foundation in drills during practices, they will get the team back into the form and style of play that scouts have charted in the recent past.

That includes attacking along the wings – especially down the left. They should start showing strength and ability again when coming back when down.

That last strength is necessary because of problems with getting caught offside. That very weakness cost Orlando an equalizing goal – and a point – in their latest loss to FC Cincinnati.

Attacking the back-three formation, as Orlando has tried to do the past four matches, doesn’t mean attacking three solid defenders. When City gets back to their winning form, two opposing wingers will be getting in position to make a five-defender backline. It’s a standard part of the back three.

The media has long noted that when Orlando City plays its best, it’s not the prettiest look in the Beautiful Game. Their emphasis is on substance much more than style when the team is most effective. The team’s reports describe this hardscrabble mode..

After a hard-fought draw with New York Red Bulls earlier in the season, a writer examined where all the goals had come thus far.

They drew that game with a late goal. Of the five goals until then, four had come in the second half.

So when supporters see the squad playing hard in the second half, even while behind, they’ll know their good team is back.The team that can win. It won’t be pretty. And that will be good.