Since 2011 when the league switched to a 34-game regular season, no team has ever progressed to the MLS playoffs after conceding 51 goals or more. With Orlando City currently leading the league in goals against, can we really blame others if the team doesn't make the playoffs?
Now, before you head off to the comments to tear me a new one, let's just point out some statistics.
Yes, we have had injuries, however Aurélien Collin is second in number of league appearances for Orlando City (behind Kaká). We may have had players sent off, but other than Cyle Larin's red card, have they really been that questionable when we look at the refereeing standards across the league? And isn't that something the team, and those players, should have been aware of when stepping onto the field?
We have had some injuries (that is not even in question), but other than Brek Shea and Kevin Molino, the players that went down long-term wouldn't have really made a difference in the number of goals we have conceded.
Statistics don't lie: Tally Hall currently has the league's worst GAA (goals against average) among goalkeepers with more than 20 games played at 1.85. The team has the league's worst goal differential at -14, and we have no player with more than four assists (Benny Feilhaber, Sebastian Giovinco and Cristian Maidana have 14 each). Orlando is tied for second-to-last in shots on goal (with Houston Dynamo), and has conceded the third-most fouls in the league, while having received the most fouls against (which means -- and it pains me to say it -- that maybe the refs haven't been screwing us all along).
We have, in fact, potentially been screwing ourselves. While Larin has been trying to get that elusive 12th goal (and I want him to get it as much as you do), a fitter and healthier Bryan Róchez has been sitting on the bench, grabbing two game-winning goals in substitute opportunities.
I believe in Adrian Heath as much as everyone else, however, sticking with players is certainly his biggest weakness. A prime example of that is Carlos Rivas. Rivas has 51 shots to his name, tied for the team lead, but has zero goals (this is based on stats from league play only).
The next worst player in MLS in that statistical category is Luis Gil of Real Salt Lake, who has zero goals after 24 shots. That means Rivas has a whopping 53% more shots than the second-most unproductive player in MLS. With statistics like that, we have to be thankful that we are even still in the hunt with four games to go.
Now, you may not agree with everything I have said and I have to concede that we are a first-year team, but with four games left and our playoff hopes looking slimmer every second (especially when we face the playoff-qualified and Supporters Shield-leading New York Red Bulls in a few hours), we have to look forward and realize that as this league gets tougher we have to adapt and identify our biggest weaknesses and prepare for the future.