Though Jason Kreis' tenure may have started off with a bang, his second game in charge was one to forget. After looking fairly comfortable at 1-0 up on a relatively cool Orlando summer's night, Orlando City was then subject to a three-goal thrashing by the Sounders that saw the game finish at 3-1; a flattering scoreline considering the visitors hit the inside of the post twice towards the latter stages of the match.
Here are our five takeaways from this disappointing Sunday at Camping World Stadium.
Orlando City Should Never Play a High Line
Though the poor defending was a result of a myriad of different errors, Jason Kreis chose to experiment with a relatively high line this time around. Though this defensive line did offer extra passing options up top, the Lions were incredibly exposed at the back. Without an abundance of pace at any defensive position, Orlando defenders were often left in the dust recovering from a loss of possession or a quick counter. The need to get back so quickly would shuffle the defense and leave the defenders in poor marking positions -- a big part of what allowed Seattle so much success up front. Kreis may find it necessary for the defenders to join the attack and position themselves farther up the pitch, but a better system must be found.
A Broken System
The last point segues nicely into this one, because Kreis' system of getting the fullbacks forward is quite literally broken. Often times, when a team allows its fullbacks to bomb forward, a revolutionary concept called covering is used so that the defense isn't left completely exposed. Most teams allow one of two fullbacks to go forward, while the other tucks in, creating a more defensively stable back three. This strategy can even be formed into a back four if one of the two defensive midfielders can drop in on a situation like a counter-attack. However, allowing both fullbacks, who aren't exactly blessed with pace, take high positions is a recipe for disaster. Whether it was a misguided idea that took too long to be realized or a miscommunication from the coach himself, it's certainly something that can't happen again.
Hadji Barry is Still Young
Although Hadji Barry may have impressed in the friendly against Stoke City and the 3-1 win over New England, he had an anonymous game against Seattle. He failed to make any meaningful impact and honestly looked scared against some of the Seattle defenders. It's important to remember that the UCF product is only 23 years old and just recently broke into the first team. Barry's experience at the top level of American soccer isn't vast, and he shouldn't immediately be benched for his poor performance. Continuing to give a young talent like Barry playing time will only improve his confidence and allow him to flourish.
Midfield Partnership Still Not Found
Whether you're a fan of Antonio Nocerino or not, the stats don't lie. If your argument is for him to be a defensive midfielder, then all you have to do is look at his defensive actions on the night. He only technically made one defensive contribution (a clearance) and only successfully tackled four times throughout the whole game. If your argument is for him to be a more offensive midfielder, then you only have to look at the fact that he created a whopping zero chances on the night with zero key passes in the final third. Those arguing for a linking midfielder may have a point with his 91% pass completion statistic, but 32% of those passes were backward passes with only 26 of his total completed passes taking place in the opposition half. The point being that the defensive midfield partnership has not been found yet, and that's something that needs to be remedied quickly.
You Learn More From a Loss
The 3-1 defeat to a Seattle team that hasn't been great this year is a blow to Orlando City fans, but it's important to remember that the new coach has to experiment with different systems. Kreis still needs time to fully understand the capabilities of all of his players, and testing these ideas out against league opposition is only going to help him learn more about what works and what doesn't. His first game came off without a hitch, but his second game is where he learned the most about this young and dynamic Orlando team. Giving Kreis a 'free period' in which to accept poor results as a caveat for experimentation is something that would be smart for all Lions fans.
Those are my five takeaways from the match against Seattle, but what do you think? Please be vocal about how smart or stupid I am in the comments down below.