Orlando City hosted the Columbus Crew last night and it was nothing short of a disaster. With an opportunity to get some room in the playoff race, the Lions laid an egg with a 4-1 loss. Not a lot of good came out of this one, but there seemed to be one positive. I present that below in these five takeaways from the match:
Kaká and MPG Continue to Show Chemistry
This has been an interesting duo since Matias Perez Garcia has come over to join Orlando City. The two international midfielders seem to click together and both have a knack for creativity. They especially worked well together early in the match before Orlando City got down. They each tried to get a little too cute at times, but the more they play together, the more each will learn to rein it in.
Same Old, Same Old for Orlando City’s Back Line
The back line was absolutely horrendous Saturday night. All four players were consistently out of position or beaten by timely runs of which they seemed unaware were coming. Luke Boden had no chance at keeping up with the pace of Ethan Finlay. Seb Hines looked rusty, and put a goal in his own net. The foursome were consistently beat by the Crew’s attackers with through balls, and the fullbacks turned the ball over in the attacking third repeatedly, allowing Columbus to get opportunities on the counter.
The whole back line was out of position for what should have been Columbus’ third goal if not for a shot that went wide by Dilly Duka.
Lack of Depth Rears its Head
Pedro Ribeiro made an appearance on the team sheet, but didn’t get in the game. Truth is, Ribeiro had to return much quicker than anyone with the team would have expected, and frankly, would have wanted. Orlando City Head Coach Jason Kreis said after the game that the plan was for Ribeiro to play 60 minutes with Orlando City B on Saturday night. But had that been the case, Orlando City would have been left with only 17 healthy bodies for the match.
The lack of depth is a concern for OCSC, given the Lions need to make a strong push in a pivotal stretch if they’re going to make the playoffs. Rafael Ramos made his return to the lineup and that will help. But the team is certainly hoping Jose Aja can bounce back from his concussion, and Cristian Higuita can return sooner rather than later.
Playoff Picture Gets Fuzzier
Orlando City really needed to win this one, as the Lions came into the match tied with D.C. United for the final spot. OCSC squares off with DC next Saturday, and now will go into that match with no cushion or room for error. And the Lions will be playing a United team that has just one loss in its last seven matches. Oh, and Orlando has yet to win there.
A Suspension Looming
Carlos Rivas couldn’t last four minutes in the match without getting a yellow card. His booking in the 49th minute, just in front of the box, put him over the limit for the year, meaning he’ll serve a one-game suspension and miss the next match against D.C. United, which I don’t know if you read my fourth takeaway, but it’s a big one. Rivas’ yellow was the result of nothing more than a dumb play. It matches with the theme of Rivas being his own worst enemy at times during his brief MLS career.
Those are my takeaways from the match. What did you see that stuck out to you?