Entering the match against FC Dallas, there was reason to be slightly optimistic that the Lions could find a way to get a result in Texas. Generally speaking, Orlando City gets results against teams in the West, plus Brek Shea was coming back home to the place it all started for him. He would certainly be putting in an effort facing his old team. That didn't last long. Here are our takeaways from the match.
Brek Shea of Old...Stoke City style
Before the match, Shea made it clear he was excited to face his old team for the first time since returning to MLS. His performance tonight was not one that called back to his play while he was in Dallas. Brek, like the rest of his team, played with effort for about 10 minutes. Shea's poor marking allowed Walker Zimmerman to get free and score off a corner. With 34 touches, Brek had one of the lowest passing accuracy percentages at 72.7%. Only Cyle Larin had a lower percentage. Not a performance for the Shea highlight reel.
Given an Opportunity, Bodz Falls Flat
When Adrian Winter left the club, Head Coach Adrian Heath was going to have to make changes to his starting XI. Moving Shea up to the midfield and Carlos Rivas not making the 18 provided Luke Boden the chance to get his fifth start of the season. Bodz's play illustrated how badly Orlando City needs depth in the back line. He completely lost Michael Barrios on the second goal from FC Dallas, and managed a 74.4% passing accuracy and a lowly 5.76 rating on WhoScored.com.
Set Pieces, Set Pieces, Set Pieces
Defending set pieces in Dallas for Orlando City was abysmal. The Lions kept leaving players unmarked all night and Dallas made them pay over and over. Joe Bendik was left hanging out to dry at just about every opportunity. The lack of effort was embarrassing. The less said on this the better.
Where Was the Defensive Midfield?
The back line was left exposed all night and part of the blame has to go to Darwin Cerén and Cristian Higuita. Both played poorly. I still don't know what Higuita was thinking when his poor back pass gave up the corner in the first half that ended up becoming the first goal of the match, and Cerén didn't distinguish himself trying to keep the ball in. Things were so bad in the first half that Heath didn't waste any time and added Servando Carrasco to reinforce the space in front of the defenders by taking off team captain Kaká. Play improved slightly afterwards, but not enough to make a difference. The Lions ended up giving up two more goals in the second half, which leads me to the final takeaway.
Goal Differential Matters
Orlando City entered the match against Dallas with a positive goal differential, but once the final whistle sounded the Lions stand at a negative (-1) goal differential. Even with the game well in hand, Dallas kept trying to score. Last season, Dallas lost the Supporters' Shield to the Red Bulls because of goal differential and it seemed the lesson was well learned. They didn't let up against Orlando. Heath needs to remind the team that every goal counts in the long term and losing by two is a matter of pride instead of three or four.
FC Dallas sits at the top of the standings for the Supporters' Shield and truly demonstrated what a high-caliber club plays like while Orlando City played like a team struggling to stay above the red line in the East. I want to hear from you. What other takeaways did you have? Let me know with a comment below.