There are multiple reasons why Orlando City’s win over New York City FC yesterday was a potential turning point for the team, including that it was the club’s first away win this season. But the most important thing was that the Lions put the game away.
Orlando City has gotten off to a great start in 2017, gathering 15 out of a possible 18 points. But it hasn’t been easy. The Lions had won each of their previous four games by just one goal and never had a multi-goal lead. In fact, their inability to score insurance goals nearly cost them four points so far this season as the Philadelphia Union and LA Galaxy both equalized, forcing late winners to walk away with all three points.
Although the team was winning games, which is definitely an improvement over the first two MLS seasons, the Lions can’t expect to always come away with a goal in the final 10 minutes. The inability to put games away by doubling their lead would eventually come back to bite them, costing them points. After four games where they were unable to find that insurance goal, they were rightly questioned whether or not they were able to do so.
Yesterday afternoon, the Lions took the lead in the 31st minute with a goal by Cyle Larin. In their previous four wins, the Lions had taken the lead and then defended ferociously to keep the lead. Much like those games, NYCFC saw the majority of the chances and forced the visitors to fight to keep the lead. But something different happened in the second half.
In the club’s previous wins, it’s not as if Orlando City hadn’t had chances to double its 1-0 leads. In fact, the Lions had golden chances in each of those games to do so but were unable to put them away. And, as previously mentioned, that could’ve costed them in two of those games. But in the 51st minute Sunday, the Lions capitalized a second time, again through Larin, to take a 2-0 lead.
In the previous four victories, that second goal would not have come. Either Larin would’ve headed it right at the goalkeeper, missed the target, failed to get on the end of the cross, or something else that would’ve resulted in a missed opportunity. Instead, Larin converted, doubling the Lions’ lead. It could be a turning point for the team this season.
With City up 2-0, NYCFC scored in the 74th minute through David Villa. A response goal by the opposition isn’t new to this Orlando City team, as it has happened twice before. But, had the Lions not been able to convert on their second goal, they would’ve been content with a 1-1 draw rather than taking all three points from the Bronx.
In order to reach the heights that this team is capable of, it must be able to put games away by taking multi-goal advantages. While the game against NYCFC yesterday was not the prettiest that they’ll play, the Lions took a big step forward by taking a 2-0 lead in the 51st minute. Showing the ability to score insurance goals may come into play as the season progresses.