The Tally Hall contradiction


To the eye, Tally Hall was a solid goalkeeper who made some fantastic saves and kept Orlando City alive. By the numbers, he and the defense struggled.

Orlando City invested a lot in goalkeeping during its inaugural year. The first big free agent signing (that was not Kaka) was goalkeeper Tally Hall, recovering from ACL surgery, and the top pick in the expansion draft in Donovan Ricketts.

The Lions expected to have strong goalkeeping behind a defense that would have to learn and grow together.

The eye test said Hall and Ricketts — and we will focus more on Hall since Orlando City traded Ricketts midseason — were fine. They made saves when they had to. It was the defense that struggled more.

There was certainly some shakiness and inconsistency on defense. Aurelian Collin was solid on the interior. Rafael Ramos and Brek Shea were good on the wings. But Ramos was in and out of the lineup. Shea got pushed up to midfield after Kevin Molino’s injury.

The group of Seb Hines, Conner Donovan, Luke Boden, Corey Ashe and David Mateo. Particularly next to Collin, the Lions struggled to find a strong player in the central defense.

In many ways Hall was good, but had to make due with a below average defense in front of him.

When looking at his numbers compared to league averages, as Daniel McGann of The Mane Land writes, Hall did not perform well at all. He was a below-average goalkeeper by the numbers:

Tally Hall, Orlando City
A comparison of Tally Hall’s goals against average and saves percentage against MLS league averages. Courtesy of The Mane Land.

Unfortunately, by looking at the pure statistics one would come to the conclusion that Tally Hall–the only player for Orlando that reached the requisite amount of play time–does not look to be a strength for Orlando. He has a 64 percent save percentage and the league average goalkeeper hovers around 71 percent. Tally also has a worse goals against average at 1.78 goals against compared to the league average goalkeeper who lets in 1.15 per game.

The ultimate conclusion is Hall did good things. He was a much better player in goal than these stats seem to suggest.

For sure, Orlando City will spend its first offseason trying to shore up its defense. The Lions ended up in the middle of the league in terms of goals against for their season.

So maybe things do not need to get changed too much.

Those 4-0 losses to Toronto and to a few other teams certainly did not help Orlando City in a tight playoff race at the end of the season. There were growing pains for an expansion franchise and defenders learning to play together for the first time.

It should make Orlando City better next year. That does not mean upgrades are not needed. And Hall is coming back from offseason surgery on his knee. Fortunately it was not a tear to his ACL.

Orlando City is doing some soul searching this offseason and will have to improve that defense to take the next step up.