On Saturday, May 9, Orlando City welcomed the New England Revolution into the Citrus Bowl in an early season tilt that saw the Lions leave with a 2-2 result. With Inchy's boys heading to Foxborough this weekend, what did the Lions learn from the first encounter?
Thwart the Revolution Early
Still relatively new to MLS and each other, Inchy noted that City seemed to be more reactive than proactive early, culminating with a Charlie Davies goal following an Amobi Okugo turnover in just the 19th minute. "We allowed a very good, confident team to dictate the pace of the game," Inchy said of the first 20 minutes of the match. "I thought we played on the back foot and gave them too much respect."
While it's true both the source of the turnover and the man it was scored on (Donovan Ricketts) are no longer Lions, the lesson remains the same -- this is a talented club that strikes quickly. David Mateos has done reasonably well settling in so far, and the opportunity is ripe for a breakthrough performance for the mid-season acquisition.
A Short Memory is the Best Memory
Down 2-0 early after Rafael Ramos gifted Kelyn Rowe the second Revolution goal of the game, prospects looked bleak at best. Rather than get down on himself, or get frustrated, seeing red until he earned red, Rafa responded by placing one of the better City crosses onto Cyle Larin's face to get the boys back in the game just four minutes later.
The midfield brilliance of Darwin Cerén deserves recognition as well. After struggling with his passing early, Cerén kept working hard through the early mistakes and eventually earned the payoff of the "hockey assist" on this play.
If recent games have taught us anything, there will be early frustrations. Look for the boys to have a renewed focus on letting cooler heads prevail and keeping the importance of the result in mind.
Offensively, the Team Must Click
After the slow start, Orlando did well in virtually every offensive metric you could hope for. Clearly dominating possession as they chased the result, City also completed 84% of their passes on the night (73% in the final third), and out-shot the Revolution 12-8 (8-1 in the second half).
With seven players completing at least 85% of their passes and a cumulative 10 key passes, we got a glimpse of how well this offense can do when all pistons are hitting. Aurélien Collin took a special interest in getting things moving in this game, and it paid off with the game-tying goal. Keep an eye on the Pitbull, as he could be looking to influence the match in a big way again.