Some of you may know that I’ve been doing a sports journalism course. One of the things we’re taught is how to write a match report, which sounds simple but is stressful at the very least when matches can turn on their heads at any moment.
However,I’ve never quite been comfortable writing the method we’re taught (which is ‘top 4’ paragraphs of the key info, then chronological match action) and am generally thinking about how to do things differently/better anyway, seeing as I don’t ever read match reports myself.
I used the Orlando City vs DC United match as a chance to practice, and wrote two: one based on the method we’ve been taught, and one more experimental. My thinking behind ‘my’ version was that I wanted to introduce more of a feel for the flow of the game, and a useful stat if possible too.
If you’ve got any thoughts, please let me know what you think. I set myself a word limit of 250 for both, as iirc that’s about the limit I’ve worked to in the past (when you don’t have space to add post-match quotes, which I also don’t quite see the point of).
(btw, just because one is ‘my’ version doesn’t necessarily mean I’m completely happy with the writing of it. The top 4 of the top 4 method one is maybe the best top 4 that I’ve written in my short time doing match reports)
Version 1: The Top 4 method
Orlando City 1 DC United 1
Stefano Pinho poked home in injury time to grab a draw in a VAR-laden game that saw the video assistant involved in a penalty and a red card decision.
The substitute’s last-gasp winner came after his side had been reduced to ten men, with Victor Giro sent off five minutes before half-time.
Yamil Asad was the centre of attention in the first half, United’s scorer and the victim of Giro’s red card offence, while Darren Mattocks missed a penalty
The point may feel like a win for Orlando in this battle between the two bottom sides of 2017’s Eastern Conference after having played 50 minutes with ten men.
There was drama after twenty minutes when a VAR review gave a penalty to DC United after a Mattocks cross struck Will Johnson’s hand, but his spot-kick was saved by Joe Bendik.
However just after the half-hour the Orlando goalkeeper was beaten, a wonderful free-kick by Asad curling through a mass of bodies and into the net.
Five minutes before half-time another VAR prompt escalated a yellow card to a red for Victor Giro, his swinging arm judged to be deliberate.
Orlando came back into the game after half-time and almost equalised, Yoshimar Yotun’s effort beating David Ousted in goal but cleared off the line by Brillant.
But the hosts continued to create chances and finally got the break-through with two minutes of injury time left, newly named club captain Jonathan Spector pulling back to Pinho to poke into the net.
Version 2: The other one
Orlando City 1 DC United 1
Stefano Pinho’s last-gasp equaliser cancelled out Yamil Asad’s direct free-kick, as DC United threw away a win after failing to take control of a match where they spent 50 minutes playing against 10 men.
After an even start, Orlando dominated before a VAR-prompted penalty was given to United, a Darren Mattocks cross striking Will Johnson’s hand.
New signing Mattocks stepped up to take the kick but it was saved, whizzing from Joe Bendik’s glove to bar to post and finally cleared away for a corner.
Orlando soon asserted themselves again, but their policy of going in hard on DC new-boy Asad twice proved to be their undoing.
A free-kick for a foul on the Argentine, taken by the man himself, swung through a mass of bodies from a crossing position on the left and into the net on the half-hour.
Shortly after, Victor Giro swung an arm going up for a header and initially received a yellow card, but after a short VAR consultation the referee produced a red.
In truth, United’s passive defending made them look like the side with ten men. Orlando created chance after chance and in injury time substitute Pinho got on the end of a pull-back by new club captain Jonathan Spector.
Orlando’s dominance was such that, from their red card to the final whistle, the final-third pass count was 95 to 46. United play 11 of their next 13 away from home as construction continues on their new stadium – they’ll need to be better.