Coming off another draw at home, Orlando City is currently sitting in the playoff picture at fifth in the Eastern conference. After the game concluded, however, Head Coach Adrian Heath fell into some hot water with the fans due to the lack of substitutions he made in the match.
Following training on Monday, Heath addressed the media and discussed his decision making, saying, "Had we not gone down to 10 men, I thought we would have gone on to win the game."
Heath went on to comment on the fans at the game.
"I had some guy behind me screaming to get more subs on and I'm thinking, 'We've got two forwards on, we've got nine outfield players.' Had we changed it 'round, we would have gone on to lose the game. We were planning on making a couple of subs late on to go for it, but circumstances dictated we couldn't do that."
With all of the fan outrage on the current state of the team, it would seem to an outsider that Orlando was currently one of the worst teams in the league, when that's not the case. Orlando has not only scored in every match it's played in, but the Lions are second in the Eastern Conference in goals scored. Having only lost twice this season, they are contending in each match and have been able to come back from deficits during games, which is not something you could say about last year's team at this point in the season.
"I keep looking at the league table," Heath said, "and anybody would think we were bottom of the league and haven't done anything."
As Gavin Ewbank touched on Monday, those who are talking about Heath deserving dismissal from the club are getting a bit too far ahead of themselves. The team is grinding out results, even if it they're not wins like most people would prefer. Points are points, no matter how you get them, and these draws could come into play as the playoffs roll around come fall. Heath himself even chimed in on the chatter around Orlando.
"To be honest with you, I'm getting a little bit annoyed about this bit of negativity," Heath said, "I spoke to the players about it this morning. I don't get where the New York Red Bulls are having a great season and on the same amount of points as us, and we're somehow struggling. I don't get it. I will keep defending what we're trying to do and the way the players are working. I couldn't ask any more of the guys. They've given us everything they've got. As long as we keep doing that, we'll be okay."
Heath went on to discuss, in detail, his thought process when it comes to making subs in games.
"Each game is different," he stated. "Like two weeks ago in New England, we put two subs on and everyone went, 'Oh, tactical genius!' I wasn't. I just made substitutes to try and win the game. And other times you don't put people on. Sometimes, it's very easy for people to say, after the event, 'We should have done this.' I don't have that opportunity, I try and make decisions at the spur of the moment. And my gut feeling after 35 years of doing this was if we'd have put another forward on, we'd have probably got beaten and I didn't want that. We didn't deserve that, so we took something from the game."
At the end of it all, Heath does understand where the dissatisfaction is coming from, but he's still content with the path that the team is taking through the season.
"There's a bit of frustration and I understand that. We haven't won as many games as we would have liked. But when I look at the overall work, we're still okay."
With their next game away from home in Kansas City in a nationally televised match on ESPN, Heath will have his players ready to contend for the win. Whether he makes subs or not will depend on how the game plays out.