Oriol Rosell

Photo credit: Orlando City SC / @OrlandoCitySC

ORL 3-2 POR: Lions erase 2-0 deficit in 7-minute explosion

Leave a comment

Orlando City SC and the Portland Timbers are undoubtedly two of the most confounding teams after the first month of the 2018 MLS season, and that statement rings even truer following the two side’s five-goal thriller at Orlando City Stadium on Sunday.

[ MORE: Three things we learned yesterday in MLS ]

Orlando came out on top, erasing a 2-0 deficit during a seven-minute barrage inside the game’s final 10 minutes, but neither side put forth a strong enough 90-minute performance to give any indication they’re trending upward. Dom Dwyer scored the game-winning goal, his third of the young season, in the 87th minute.

Five minutes earlier, Sacha Kljestan made it 2-2 from the penalty spot after Dwyer won the penalty — in shall we say, controversial fashion — just two minutes after rookie Chris Mueller bagged his first MLS goal to halve the Lions’ deficit.

Here’s the good news for Portland: for roughly an hour, they completely dominated and controlled in a proactive manner — that’s to say, pressing and possession.

Here’s the bad news for Portland: head coach Giovanni Savarese made a pair of subs in the ensuing seven minutes that changed everything good his side had done for 60 minutes — Lawrence Olum (defensive midfielder/center back) and Dairon Asprilla (winger), for Cristhian Paredes (box-to-box midfielder) and Samuel Armenteros (forward). It was extremely negative and immediately gave away Portland’s stranglehold on the game.

Those first 60 minutes also highlighted just how badly Orlando are missing an influential midfielder capable of dictating tempo, circulating possession and driving forward. It wasn’t until Portland essentially conceding two-thirds of the field before Kljestan and Yoshi Yotun began to combine anywhere near the final third.

Uri Rosell is yet to make his debut in purple, and he should solve a lot of Orlando’s midfield problems and allow Kljestan the freedom he needs to do all of the above. Until he returns from injury, though, expect a couple-few more Jekyl-and-Hyde performances from Jason Kreis’s side.

Three things we learned from Sporting KC’s 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls

Leave a comment

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Following Sporting Kansas City’s 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls (full highlights above), it’s safe to say both sides are far from finished products as Week 1 of the 2015 Major League Soccer season draws to a close.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Week 1 MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Sunday night taught us a lot about both Sporting KC, as head coach Peter Vermes attempts to re-boot an already-accomplished side and return it to MLS Cup glory, and the New York Red Bulls, as Jesse Marsch looks to assemble his new team in a mold of his own.

THE FEILHABER-ESPINOZA DOUBLE PIVOT IS A WORK IN PROGRESS

source:

Those are Feilhaber and Espinoza’s passing diagrams. That’s a whole lot of red (65 percent completed) for two midfielders of their caliber, and with such a high defensive line behind them, it’s going to have to be much better going forward. In mid-season form, Felipe and/or Dax McCarty feed Bradley Wright-Phillips a better ball in behind the backline, and he’s finishing the one-on-one chance.

[ READ: All of PST’s 2015 team-by-team MLS previews ]

They also struggled positionally in defense, particularly in transition. The tendency for both players is to get forward, press high and always remain active. They did just that in the build-up to Lloyd Sam’s equalizing goal, and it cost them two points.

source:

That’s with the ball en route from Felipe to Sam. Notice where Krisztian Nemeth, the third central midfielder, is. Because he leaves such a gap in the center of the field, Feilhaber (right) and Espinoza (left) push forward to fill the void. Let’s have a look at what that leaves Sporting with defensively once Lloyd receives the pass.

source:

The answer: acres of space. Matt Besler rightly steps up to challenge Sam, but already on a yellow card, he can’t blow the play up with a firm tackle. Instead, Sam skates by Besler, turns him at the top of the penalty area and applies the perfect finish. Basically, soccer is dominoes, and one of Feilhaber or Espinoza has to be content to sit deep when the other presses forward, no matter the situation. They’ll get it because they’re both elite MLS players, but it’ll take a bit of gelling first.

All that said, Feilhaber was still the best player on the field. The above criticisms say a lot about how good he’s been for 18 months now, that I expect him to be near perfect every time out.

LIFE IS GOING TO BE A LITTLE TOUGHER FOR BWP IN 2015

Life was pretty good for Wright-Phillips when he had Thierry Henry feeding him five, 10, 15 or 20 golden goalscoring chances each game. So great, in fact, he managed to score 27 goals in 2014. Now, that’s not to say Henry was the lone maker of BWP’s historic goalscoring run, but it’s going to take all sorts of different contributions from BWP this year if the Red Bulls are to make the playoffs.

source:

Tha’s Felipe’s passing diagram. It’s actually pretty good (80 percent completed), but notice all of one pass completed into the final third. If that’s Henry hitting balls forward for BWP, at least half are complete and probably a couple in the back of the net, given Sporting’s high line.

I fear the Red Bull attack is going to struggle this season, unless/until BWP finds a way to be a bigger part of the build-up. Chances are going to be few and far between otherwise, and he’ll have to strike near perfect all year to put up his numbers.

MATT BESLER HASN’T LOOKED HIMSELF FOR NEARLY A YEAR

Look, I don’t know if it’s time to start asking, What’s wrong with Matt Besler (I don’t think it is), but he’s not been great since before the World Cup last year. And it’s not the “mistake” that led to the goal, or even the two yellow cards that got him sent off. It’s the little things at which Besler used to excel — practically to perfection — that haven’t been…right…for a while.

[ MORE: Kaka, Diskerud score as Orlando City, NYCFC draw in dual-debut ]

No doubt the absence of a true defensive midfielder shielding the back four has hurt the entire defense since Uri Rosell was sold in May 2014 — and Besler has often taken upon himself the responsibility to step forward and fill the void — he’s just not looked the same confident, never-puts-a-foot-wrong defensive commander I watched week in and week out from 2011 to early-2014.

We’ll leave it at that for now and see what the next few weeks look like before we go sounding any imaginary alarm.

Sporting sale: Kansas City agrees to sell Rosell, send him to Portugal

3 Comments

What was rumored last month has come to fruition. Oriol Rosell, two-plus years after moving to Major League Soccer from Barcelona, has been sold to Sporting Club of Portugal. Sporting Kansas City announced the move via the club’s website on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old moves after a 43-game career with Kansas City, including 31 appearances as part of last year’s title team. Playing a defensive role in Sporting’s three-man midfield, Rosell accumulated two goals and two assists over that span, with the 66 fouls he committed during the 2013 regular season ranking fourth in Major League Soccer.

The sale means Rosell is the third Sporting starter to make the jump to Europe in the last 18 months. At the end of the 2012 season, Honduran international Roger Espinoza left for England, joining Wigan Athletic. Forward Kei Kimara made a similar move last summer when he moved to Middlesbrough. Now, ending his apprenticeship in Major League Soccer, Rosell has followed suit, with the Spaniard returning to Iberia.

From Sporting KC’s web site:

“We wish Uri the best of luck in pursuing this new opportunity,” said Sporting Club CEO Robb Heineman. “The perception from the outside might be that the timing is not great, but from the inside we believe that the timing is perfect. It opens the door for Uri and for us.”

That last sentence hints that Sporting, who could eventually slide Kenyan Lawrence Olum into Rosell’s spot, plans to make another move. Come July 9, the transfer window will be reopened, and with two-thirds of the (undisclosed) money from the Rosell sale at their allocation’s disposal, Sporting can go out an address its holes.

Defensive midfield may be the most obvious of those issues, but right back Chance Myers just recently went down. Erik Kronberg’s off to a slow start as the team’s new number one. Sal Zizzo has been decent since arriving from Portland, but the team is increasingly dependent on Dom Dwyer for goals. Depending on how Peter Vermes sees these positions, Kansas City could have anything from temporary concerns to outright holes.

With an offer on the table and a player whose departure was inevitable, Sporting may have decided this was the right moment to make a move. Perhaps that moment isn’t as perfect as Heinemann’s spinning, but it still provides some early certainty for a team working to defend a title.

Kansas City’s Ori Rosell appears for Catalan soccer team

1 Comment

It’s a good year to be a Sporting Kansas City man.

The year began with Roger Espinoza and Kei Kamara finding their way to teams in England. (Heck, Kamara did it twice in 2013.)

Matt Besler established himself as a national team starter and SKC teammate Graham Zusi established himself as a key man, perhaps just this side of solid starter status, but certainly part of Jurgen Klinsmann’s plan going forward.

The big blast of self-made fortune was Sporting KC’s triumph in MLS Cup 2013, along with the club’s ongoing flourish on the business side.

And as 2013 closes, the individual good tidings continue to roll in. Today, midfielder Ori Rosell got into a match with a few high-profile performers.

Rosell appeared as a substitute in Catalonia’s 4-1 win Monday over the Cape Verde Islands.

The Catalan team is not a member of FIFA or UEFA, but does play occasional freindlies, like the one Monday.

Eight of Catalonia’s 22 players selected were from Barcelona, including Cesc Fàbregas, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets.

Sporting Kansas City’s Oriol Rosell recalled by Catalonia national team

Leave a comment

Sergio Busquets will be there. So will Gerard Piqué and Cesc Fábregas. When Catalonia takes the field on Monday against Cape Verde, eight Barcelona players will be in uniform as the autonomous region plays a rare international match, with one young Major League Soccer talent getting a surprise opportunity to join them.

Oriol Rosell, who just completed an MLS Cup-winning campaign with Sporting Kansas City, was called into to the 22-man squad, a team that also features Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Sergio Garcia (Espanyol) and Joan  Capdevilla (Espanyol).

The match, to be played at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys in Barcelona, is the team’s first game since a Jan. 2 draw against Nigeria, and while Catalonia (part of Spain) is not recognized by FIFA, the recall still puts Rosell in select company. Only one other player in the squad plays outside the Spanish Primera Division, with Barcelona loanee Bojan Krkic currently playing at Ajax.

“It will be an amazing experience to play with these players,” Rosell told Sporting Kansas City’s web site. “They have a lot of quality and are some of the best in the world … I always say I’m from Catalonia and now to be with the first team with those great players will be a very emotional experience for me.”

Rosell is a former Barcelona youth product, but he has no international experience. Eligible to play for Spain, he has never been recalled to a national team, be it on the youth or senior level. After this second year in Kansas City, however, the defensive midfielder has drawn the attention of the Catalonia Football Federation, with new coach Gerard López choosing to honor him with a recall.

“I am happy that Uri will have the opportunity to play alongside some of the world’s best players,” Sporting head coach Peter Vermes explained. “[T]his is a great way for Uri to cap off what’s been an excellent year for him.”

In his first full season in Major League Soccer, Rosell started 31 games and recorded a goal and two assists. Replacing Julio Cesar at the base of Sporting’s midfield, the 21-year-old was a key part of Vermes’ MLS Cup winning squad, though Rosell had to leave Dec. 7’s championship game early with an injured foot.

Now he rejoins the likes of Sergi Roberto, Christian Tello, Marc Bartra, and Martín Montoya – fellow Catalan recalls who have recently graduated from La Masia.