Orlando City

Impactful adjustments: Early second-half goals key to Orlando City's success 


ORLANDO, Fla. - If it wasn't obvious already after Saturday night's match, Orlando City is a second-half team.

The Lions headed into the locker room after the first 45 minutes against CF Montréal with a slim 1-0 lead, thanks to an own goal forced by Orlando's offensive talisman, Facundo Torres. It was just the team's 14th first-half goal that they've scored this entire season, almost a third of their total goals scored in 2023.

While it's been a massive boon for the Lions to head to the locker rooms having scored in the first half, many of their results this season have come just after the second-half whistle blows.

Two goals from Dagur Dan Thorhallsson and Torres put the Lions in the driver's seat within the first 15 minutes of the second half, giving them a 3-0 lead. They were the 15th and 16th goals that the Lions scored in that window of time, meaning another third of their 49 goals scored this year come in those first few minutes of the half.

"I would say usually it’s aggressiveness." Thorhallsson said as to why this team has scored so much in that time. "We come in (the locker room) and everybody talks together. I feel like in the first 15 minutes, aggressiveness comes, and with aggressiveness comes the run on the far post, like I did."

“It's good news for us when our players keep that mentality to go forward and define the games in the key moments." Head coach Oscar Pareja said. "I thought we could extend our lead in the first half, but sometimes the game becomes like that. If we aren’t lethal, you give the other team a second [wind]. I am glad that we are having those responses. It gives us the sense and the feeling that we are maturing as a group.”

Whether it's aggressiveness or mentality, it seems that Pareja's halftime talks and adjustments have done wonders for this team in terms of creating chances offensively and changing results in favor of the Lions.

“It’s probably something that Oscar has got going right now." Midfielder Wilder Cartagena said. "I think in terms of being able to score, it’s just the spaces that we have in the second half and continuing to press. When we go on the road and we’ve got that extra space, we find it a little easier to score. When this team scores the first goal, it’s very difficult to keep us off the scoreboard after because we continue to press, and our confidence continues to grow. We just find ourselves scoring more and more.”

With the team now preparing for a hostile environment from GEODIS Park in Nashville, Tennessee, on Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET | Apple TV - Free, FS1, 96.9 The Game, Acción 97.9 FM), the team will hope to lean on their second-half adjustments to once again turn the tide of the match in their favor.

Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoff vs Columbus Crew

Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoff vs Columbus Crew

Our Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoff tickets for our Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup against the Columbus Crew, presented by Publix, on Nov. 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET are live!