Orlando City waited over a month to get back Rafael Ramos from a thigh injury. And in less than 37 minutes, they lost him again.
For the second time this season, the 20-year-old right back was sent off with a straight red card -- this time a far less worthy one than his ejection at Columbus back in April -- in the first half, getting sent off inOrlando City's 5-0 loss at Toronto FC on Saturday. It put the Lions a man down for an MLS-leading eighth time this season.
The red card completely changed the dynamic of the game for Orlando City, which came out in a more defensive posture than we're used to, looking to get any kind of result. Due to this approach, Toronto pressured hard throughout the first half.
Adding insult to injury, already down 3-0 late in the game, the Lions were pushed down to nine men when Adrian Winter, playing in just his third game, also received a red card for a foul on Robbie Findley inside the box.
Thanks to the two red cards from referee Jose Carlos Rivero, Orlando City will be forced to host the Chicago Fire on Saturday night without their two best options on the right side of the field, making a game in which they desperately need three points even tougher than it was already going to be.
Adjusting to these losses won't be easy for the Lions, who are just trying to gain any momentum at this point of a really bad skid.
Tyler Turner will be back from a one-game suspension for the red card he picked up against the Seattle Sounders, meaning he'll be a prime candidate to fill in at right back should Adrian Heath not feel comfortable using Corey Ashe at right back -- which seemed to be the case against Seattle. Turner was awful in his near-40 minutes on the field before picking up a second yellow, but a second opportunity could also be in the cards and could possibly allow him to gain his confidence back.
Most people might forget, due to the fact that he's only featured as a right winger this season, but Eric Avila has also played a lot of right back in his career, meaning he could possibly move back as a defensive sure-up against Chicago.
Figuring out the right wing is a little easier, but ultimately, I think we see Heath shift back to the 4-3-3 formation this weekend and bring back the three defensive midfielder lineup that we've seen so often lately. That means Cristian Higuita playing on the left side, with Servando Carrasco in the middle and Darwin Ceren positioned out right.
Carlos Rivas, Cyle Larin, and Kaká would be the ideal choice to play ahead of those guys in the top of the 4-3-3, which with Larin and Rivas, could act like a 4-3-1-2 by pushing Kaká in centrally.
Overall, these losses won't help Orlando City push goals up on the board -- the 4-3-3 has typically been used by Heath when the team comes out playing for a point -- and we could be in store for more of the same boring, uncreative play we've seen in the past few weeks.
The team missed Ramos for over a month. What's another game, I guess?