Orlando City (7-13-8, 29 points) took to the freshly laid grass pitch at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night without four key players, and the match against the New England Revolution went about as well as you would expect, given those circumstances. City struggled to possess the ball and was comprehensively defeated by the Revs, 3-0, to put another big dent in the Lions' already slim postseason hopes.
New England (11-9-7, 40 points) controlled play throughout the first half, maintaining possession and putting pressure on the Orlando goal repeatedly until Diego Fagundez finally broke through to give the Revs a 1-0 lead in the 43rd minute. Chris Tierney started the sequence for New England with a nice long ball to Charlie Davies, who used his chest to direct it to Lee Nguyen on the left wing. Nguyen played a creative chip into the box, which Fagundez handled with a nice first touch before using his second to poke the ball home past hall into the right side of net.
The opening goal felt like only a matter of time, as the Revs had repeatedly threatened the Lions' goal and were unfortunate to not have been up already due to some poor finishing and an amazing save from Tally Hall on Davies in the 18th minute. Hall came up big again in stoppage time just before the half, when he saved a low shot from Fagundez from the edge of the box.
The first half stats were reflective of the deficit for Orlando City, who were out-shot in the first 45 minutes by New England 12-1, with the lone shot for the Lions coming from over 20 yards out by Ribeiro in minute 17. The Revs were on the ball for 55% of the half, as OCSC failed to retain any sort of possession and asked Ribeiro to do too much in terms of hold-up play with little support up top.
The second half started off with more brilliance from Hall between the posts.
The City keeper made two more massive saves within the first 15 minutes of the period, stopping Davies in a one-v-one, after the forward was played into the box and then making a ridiculous kick save on a deflected shot from Tierney in the box. Without the fantastic effort from their man in goal, Orlando could have been looking at a three or four-goal deficit by the one-hour mark.
With an equalizer needed, Orlando did manage to string together a bit more possession in the second frame but was unable to turn it into any real dangerous chances, much less draw level with New England. Bryan Róchez came on as a substitute for Ribeiro in the 68th minute and created a look for himself four minutes later, when he took on two defenders before firing with his right foot in the center of the box, but the shot sailed just high of the bar. Róchez shot again 10 minutes later, but directed his effort from outside the box directly at New England keeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
The wheels would fall off for Orlando, however, in minute 84 when the Revs orchestrated a nice bit of passing to find substitute Juan Agudelo in front of goal for an easy tap in. Nguyen played the ball forward on the right side to Teal Bunbury, who swiftly crossed the ball across the face of goal to the unmarked Agudelo. New England put the cherry on top with a stoppage time goal from Tierney, who finished easily on an assist from Nguyen when Orlando was caught forward.
The Revs finished the night with 21 shots, eight of which were on target -- the same number as OCSC managed in total. That the Lions struggled to put together consistent possession without Kaká and Darwin Cerén in the midfield isn't a huge surprise, and Orlando was only able to complete 66% of their passes inside the New England half of the field.
With the loss, Orlando City drops below the red line in the Eastern Conference and has now failed to win in its last six MLS outings. The shutout for New England was their third straight, and the three-goal performance from Orlando's defense was another step in the wrong direction, as the Lions have now allowed 17 goals over the course of their six-match winless run.
The Lions return home a week from tomorrow against Sporting Kansas City.