Through the first six games of the season, the normally fiery Heath has been downright docile. Understandably so; a post-game tirade early in the club's inaugural season would have been wildly out of place amongst the celebratory atmosphere that has surrounded the team. The hair dryer treatment wouldn't do much in these early days to help the players as they form bonds with the coach, the club, and each other. Despite some ineffective performances, on-field struggles, and too many late game lapses, the time and place to unleash the hurricane that is Adrian Heath hasn't seemed to come. That was until Columbus, of course.
In a post-game interview with the Orlando Sentinel's Paul Tenorio, Heath lambasted young defender Rafael Ramos for his give-away goal and his youthful anger management issues, which resulted in a red card. While more reserved towards the rest of the team, he didn't hesitate to call out players and their mistakes that resulted in the 3-0 drubbing.
This was the Adrian Heath we've come to know through four years in the USL. This was the coach I've seen shred a team in post-game press conferences after unconvincing wins. A coach that will pull out-of-form but popular players off the field, who will take a chance on a young guy when a veteran is having an off game. It was Heath's fierce brand of coaching that made Orlando so successful at the lower level and made Heath a beloved figure with the supporters.
When things weren't going well on the field, the supporters are always confident that Inchy would turn things around for us. That's why I, for one, was glad to see Heath open up a bit on Ramos and the players. He was honest in his praise of the things that went right but also brutally honest on the things that didn't go well. Six games in, some confident performances under our belt, and more comfortable in our MLS surroundings is the perfect time for Heath to turn up the heat and expect more.
We have been in every game we've played, and there is no reason this team can't win every game it plays. Even in the lopsided loss to Columbus, there were moments, playing a man down, that we looked capable of coming back. I'd argue, much to the chagrin of our Columbus Crew friends, that the last two goals were as much about our team's exhaustion from chasing the game a man down than their superior talent. This Orlando City team has a lot of fight in them. It's time for Heath to rally his troops and remind them that he doesn't ever expect his players to not give it all to the badge, the supporters, and their teammates.
The early inaugural season niceties came to an end in the chill of a Columbus night. It's time for Heath to turn up the heat.