Editorial – (March 7, 2017) – NYCFC lost to Orlando City SC 1-0 in a game where the team statistics were a little misleading. Cyle Larin scored OCSC’s goal with their only shot on target. In contrast, NYCFC failed to capitalize on their seven shots on goal. However, NYCFC showed a lot of promise for the rest of the season. In this game, an analysis of the players shows some strong individual performances, but a failure to execute as a team. Once the team gels, they will be dangerous for the opposition. (All statistics from WhoScored unless noted)
NYCFC vs Orlando City: Statistical Analysis
Even though he let in a goal, Sean Johnson was rarely troubled, making zero saves. There was little he could have done to prevent the goal. It was mostly Ronald Matarrita’s fault. One important aspect of his game was that he was strong in distribution. Johnson attempted 29 passes, with 79% accuracy, and attempted 11 long balls, with 45% accuracy.
Matarrita was mostly at fault for the goal. However, the main issue with this goal is Matarrita being matched up with a taller player. Larin is 6’2, while Matarrita is 5’9. Other than letting up the goal, he had four total defensive actions: two tackles and two clearances. Offensively, he had one shot, two key passes, three dribbles, three bad touches and was dispossessed once. Overall not the best night offensively, but still a solid output.
With passing, Matarrita is known for his ability to spray accurate crosses into the boxes. However, against OCSC he had six crosses, but only one accurate cross. With long balls, he played seven of them, but only one was accurate. He also attempted 63 passes, with 79% accuracy.
Alexander Callens was matched up against a strong striker in his first outing, and performed well. He won three aerial duels, made four defensive actions (two interceptions and two clearances), and blocked one shot. Callens also should have stuck with Larin on the goal. Helping distribute the ball is where Callens shined. He attempted 76 passes, with 93% accuracy, and attempted seven long balls, with 57% accuracy.
In this game Chanot illustrated what he can do when fully healthy. He was NYCFC’s highest rated player, and was a menace defensively and on set pieces. Off set pieces, Chanot attempted three shots, but couldn’t find the back of the net. He had seven total defensive actions (two tackles, two interceptions, three clearances). The aspect he could improve most is distribution. He attempted 73 passes, about the same as Callens, but only with 82% accuracy. Also, he attempted eight long balls, with 38% accuracy.
Another player at fault for the goal was RJ Allen, who didn’t make a strong effort to block the cross. Allen contributed four defensive actions (three tackles and one clearance), while committing one foul. His distribution was not that strong, attempting 47 passes, with 85% accuracy. He also attempted three crosses, one successfully, and two long balls, none successfully. Overall, it wasn’t the best performance from Allen.
Maxi Moralez is being asked to fill in the production left vacant when Frank Lampard retired. One difference was Moralez pitched in defensively, with two tackles and two fouls committed. His distribution was very strong with 59 passes attempted, with 93% accuracy. He attempted three crosses, with one being successful, and nine long balls, with eight being accurate. Finally, he contributed one shot and one key pass. This game was a promising debut for Moralez and hopefully he can build on his performance.
Alexander Ring was tasked with replacing Andoni Iraola as the shield for the NYCFC back line. He completed five defensive actions (four tackles and one interception), and was decent in distribution (20 out of 25 passes completed). Ring did his job, but if he could get involved in distribution more, NYCFC would be stronger playing the ball out of the back.
Il Maestro is known for his pinpoint passing and ability to pick out his teammates. In this game, he had three key passes, 80 passes attempted with 84% accuracy, nine crosses attempted with 44% accuracy, and 19 crosses attempted with 68% accuracy. Clearly, Pirlo was the center of the NYCFC attack. He was putting his teammates in position to get good shots, they just didn’t capitalize. Defensively, Pirlo could contribute more, as he only had one tackle and no other defensive actions.
Harrison did not have the best game. Orlando City continued the strategy of most MLS teams to swarm him when he has the ball. This led to a performance that wasn’t as sharp as usual. He attempted five crosses, completing zero, and four long balls, completing two. Offensively, he attempted two shots, both on target. However, he too lacked the critical touch to win the game. If Harrison wants to keep his starting spot, he will have to display tenacity that was lacking against OCSC. NYCFC have several good wingers, and manger Patrick Vieira isn’t afraid to remove out of form players from the squad.
Once again captain David Villa led the front line. He attempted four shots, two on target, and five key passes. Other than the key passes, Villa wasn’t very effective in distribution. He also had FOUR offside calls against him, plus he was dispossessed once and had three bad touches. Overall, Villa didn’t put in an MVP caliber performance because he lacked that final touch to finish OCSC.
The Costa Rican international had a mixed debut. Wallace should have been sent off, but he combined well with fellow Costa Rican Ronald Matarrita. He also had five defensive actions (three tackles and two interceptions), but was poor in distribution. Just like Jack Harrison, he needs to have solid passing in order for NYCFC to play the ball out of the back. He also will need to be more accurate with his crosses. In order to remain in the starting lineup, he will need improve his distribution.
Shelton was first off the bench, replacing Rodney Wallace. He was more active defensively and offensively with two defensive actions and one accurate cross. By being able to get the cross successfully, he shows Vieira he is still a viable option off the bench.
When McNamara replaced Ring, Vieira was pushing for a goal. While that goal didn’t come, McNamara entered the game and showed how he can get involved in distribution. He attempted 11 passes, with 82% accuracy, not his best. More importantly, he completed two long balls that helped drive the attack forward. There is no reason McNamara can’t start, he will just need to push for his place by showing his strength in distribution.
Okoli entered in the 83rd minute and immediately made an impact with two shots on target. He displayed what he can offer to NYCFC with his pace and power through the middle of the pitch. His performance warrants a longer run out in a different game, maybe even in a two forward set up.