For the second time in three years, Orlando City will finish the month of March undefeated. While they did have a game canceled, the two wins at home were solid improvements from last year with a lot of positive play and new pieces gelling together.
Of course, this is a very small sample size for Orlando City, but the improvements certainly have been effective so far. The team still has not played an away game and is still down a few starters due to injury, so only time will tell if the Lions can keep this momentum going.
In the meantime, there is still a lot of room for improvement for the current team as it heads into its first road match-up in Columbus to take on the Crew on April 1.
If we break it down by the three regions of the pitch, there’s at least one area for improvement in each region.
The back line has been the best it has been in recent memory in terms of man marking and preventing breakdowns. The only real criticism that I have is the aggressiveness of the defenders. Now, don’t get me wrong here, the aggressiveness is a great thing and helps break up a number of attacks. But late in the game against Philadelphia, there were a number of times defenders were trying to be a bit over-aggressive and got burned as a result. Especially in those late-game situations with tired legs, the defenders just need to measure their challenges a bit more, knowing that they don’t have the legs they did earlier on in the game to recover as quickly.
In the midfield, there were a few cheap giveaways through the first two games that almost resulted in counter attacks. At times when Orlando was building out of the back and the defensive line was playing higher up the pitch, the midfield players would sometimes knock back passes that were under-hit, off target, or simply taken away by the opposing team. Both Antonio Nocerino and Servando Carrasco had giveaways that stick out in my mind that the defense eventually was able to recover and clear away. The team has looked better from game one to game two, but Orlando could be much better in limiting those unnecessary errors.
Finally, the attacking players in Cyle Larin, Carlos Rivas, Matias Perez Garcia, and Giles Barnes have looked quite potent. The only real improvement they need to have is to be more clinical in front of goal. Larin has his goals, but to this point, he’s the only one to have scored for Orlando. The Lions need to be able to rely on Rivas, MPG, and Barnes to finish their chances as the season goes along. We know Larin can score, but he won’t be able to carry the scoring load for the entire year.
That’s my opinion on the improvements needed for Orlando. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.