Orlando City's game last night felt eerily similar to the game vs Vancouver. Orlando seemed to dominate the game, gave away a free kick in stoppage time and ended up letting in the game-winning goal to lose a heart breaker. After the game, Adrian Heath said in his press conference, "It's not very often you create as many chances as we have and not score a goal, then get done again on a set piece. It's not an easy night."
While most people will look at the end of the game and be understandably upset about the result, there were good things that came out of this game. First off, Orlando maintained possession for the majority of the game. There were stretches in the first half that the Lions really dominated the game and created chance after chance.
Orlando ended up taking 17 shots over the course of the game. Five of those shots were on target and two of them were blocked. If not for D.C. United goalie Bill Hamid, Orlando could be walking away from this game with a decent victory, but last year's MLS goalkeeper of the year showed why he won the award, saving five of City's chances. It's not often that Orlando will face a goalkeeper of his caliber, so the chance creation is good for the club. The next step is to finish the chances that they couldn't capitalize on.
Another positive is that Carlos Rivas is back and looking dangerous. Injuries derailed the team's original plan to play the Colombian in the left midfield, but last night he was finally able to get out and play very well. After coming into the game in the 71st minute, Rivas brought a much more dangerous attack to Orlando's midfield. He was able to create chances for his teammates and for himself, taking a few healthy rips on goal. Going forward, Rivas and Brek Shea will have a good pairing in the attack and hopefully that will result in some more goals.
Although this wasn't most likely in Adrian Heath's game plan, rookie forward Cyle Larin got almost 70 minutes of playing time, coming in for the injured Pedro Ribeiro in the 22nd minute. As soon as Larin entered the game, the entire landscape changed.
Orlando seemed to attack more often and create better buildup play with Larin on the pitch. Amobi Okugo said of Larin, "When Cyle came in, he has different attributes then Pedro and he was able to impose himself and create a lot of chances." With Ribeiro looking to possibly be out for the next game in Portland, Larin will most likely be the first option for that game.
So, in the end, yes it's another heartbreaking loss at home. Yes, Orlando still has a lot of work to do in terms of finishing and defending late in the game. But it is not the end of the world. It's only five games into the season and there's a lot left for Orlando to do to make it to the playoffs. So everyone take a deep breath and get yourselves ready for Portland next week.