Orlando City suffered a blowout 3-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders on Sunday in what was Jason Kreis' second game in charge. Many fans were surprised with the scoreline considering the Lions' blistering start to life under Kreis coupled with the fact that Seattle hasn't been great this year. However, though the loss wasn't a lovely result for any Orlando fan, one might consider delaying judgment on the manager for just a bit.
A 3- 1 win over the New England Revolution doesn't tell someone a whole lot about the defensive fallacies of the team that won. Orlando City's biggest problem is without a doubt the defense, and that's something Kreis has been looking to explore. For whatever reason, though Orlando seems to be more than adequate going forward, the Lions have consistently struggled to keep opposing teams out of the net. This weekend's result against Seattle gave Kreis a better picture of what will not work with this group of Orlando City defenders, and that in and of itself may be more valuable than a win against New England or any other team. Like Thomas Edison once said, "I have not failed. I've just found a thousand ways that won't work."
Now, I'm not comparing Kreis to one of the greatest inventors in human history, but I am saying that this team will need to work out the kinks before it strikes the correct balance between deadly offensive force and stalwart defending.
Maybe it's Kreis' way of letting the Orlando fan base know that the 4-2-3-1 is something won't work under him instead of simply switching the formation to his preferred 4-4-2 at the first opportunity. The fullbacks bombed too far forward and the defensive midfielders either weren't tactically or physically astute enough to recover the exposed space. The extra men far up the field helped in chance creation as Orlando saw some success down both flanks, but the caveat was conceding. Kreis has been known for his use of dynamic fullbacks, but as of right now Orlando doesn't seem to have the right player's in order to implement that style in this formation.
A 4-4-2 would help the team be more compact and also help defensive overloads on the wings in case dangerous players try to make something happen down the line. Whatever the reason, Kreis and his managerial staff learned more about this Orlando City team than they would have with a win, and at this stage in his career with the Lions, it may be something that we should all deem as necessary.
What I am suggesting for all Orlando City fans is the concession of a 10-game "pass." Ten games of allowed experimentation without harsh criticism for the sake of growth under Kreis. Though the manager has had plenty of time to understand this league, each club comes with its own set of challenges and nuances that require a bit of time to grow into. So for the sake of the team as a whole, an expected grace period may be exactly what the new gaffer needs in order to make this team as good as it can be.