Orlando Sa

Orlando Sa left the club yesterday. His contract was terminated by mutual consent.

Sa made 12 appearances for Fulham, 4 coming in the Europa League. He started three league matches and just one Europa League match. He scored one goal, away at Norwich on New Years Eve. Often injured throughout the season, he played just once in 2012, coming on as a 81st minute substitute on Easter Monday.

My lasting memory of Sa will be the waning moments of the Europa League Group Stage finale against Odense. The match where he played one whole minute. Rich dedicated a whole post to it.

Sa had the ball in open space, and instead of just blasting it on or over the net, or taking it to the corner (like your taught to do) so to fully waste the few tens of seconds remaining, he tried to find a trailing Duff, couldn’t, and passed it to an unopen Frei who subsequently turned the ball over. Odense broke and scored the equalizing goal, and the game was over. In a matter of moments, we were out of the competition. And I was never really able to forgive him for that.

“Seriously, there was twenty-fucking-seconds left. Either kick the ball so hard it goes out of the stadium, or take it to the corner. Show some fucking composure.” Is basically what went through my head, and I’m sure countless others’ as well.

Of course, it wasn’t all his fault; Fulham played like garbage in that and the previous few games and didn’t fully deserve to advance. Additionally, Briggs, Gecov, Baird (at center midfield) and an unfit Hughes started, while Neil Etheridge made his debut in net. There are sub par lineups, and then there are straight junk lineups. This was the latter. (Not being harsh on the players, but mainly Jol for underestimating the match and leaving Etuhu, Riise, Senderos, et al on the bench.)

But there’s something about how some of us, who often rely on the better angles of our nature so often, can be so irrationally singular and unwavering in our blame. Like Snodgrass’s Muff or Merkle’s Boner, and perhaps even more contemporary to Steve Bartman and Wide Right. This phenomena is nothing new.

And for me, it squared solely on Orlando and those dieing moments on that miserable December evening.

At least we’ll always have this unrelated photo.

Tim Gelles is a writer for Craven Cottage Newsround. A Fulham fan since 2006 when he saw Fulham defeat an Iain Dowie led Charlton. He resides in Baltimore. E-mail him or follow him on twitter.

11 thoughts on “Orlando Sa

  1. Fair enough. However, I thought he played well at Chelsea and might have come on if he’d been given a greater opportunity. So it goes.

  2. Sa seems to have been a lovely chap, scored that belter of a goal against Norwich, and generally acquitted himself reasonably well. He does seem to have been a last minute fill-in signing and in that sense unlikely to have stuck in the first place, but I’m still sad for him.

    The Odense vitriol I never really could see. I mean, there were several hundred things wrong with the team performance so picking him out always seemed off. As Jol recently said in FulTime magazine, you also had Gecov out of position and Briggs slow to close the man down. We should have won that game about 5-0, so Orlando’s mishap is hardly the deal-breaker, particularly considering how little he played.

  3. Performance entirely aside, I didn’t like Sa because it seemed for him all the kicking and running around of football was just a pretense. What he really wanted was for another player to get within fifteen feet of him so he could throw himself to the ground and flop around as if he’d just been struck by lightning. As a Fulham fan, I was embarrassed. As a football fan, I was embarrassed.

  4. My main memory of him is the game at Chelsea around Christmas; I was in NYC for the holiday and a friend and I watched the game in a bar in Brooklyn. The garrulous Portuguese bartender simply would not should up about Sa’s promise, although I feel like he got pretty well manhandled by the Chelsea defense.

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