The winless streak stretches itself to six (0-4-2) and Orlando City has to look in the mirror wondering what needs to be done differently.
Last night’s 1-0 loss to Minnesota United wasn't easy for Orlando as the Lions were unable to find the back of the net for the second straight game. Even with opportunity in their favor, the lads in purple still could not score. Here are some takeaways from the game.
Woodwork is Our Other Name
Carlos Rivas hit the post in the first half after stealing the ball away and quickly countering. Rivas found himself with the ball, in space, and in a one-on-one situation with Bobby Shuttleworth. He attempted to slide the ball past the goalkeeper, only to watch it slowly roll itself into the post and ricochet out. That was Rivas’ best chance of the game after sky rocketing a few others. For Orlando City that marks the seventh time a shot has hit the woodwork and not gone in across the line this season. Each time has been a disappointment and this time was certainly no different. If OCSC could find a way to make those shots count then what a change it would make to the team’s season and obviously the Lions would have scored seven more goals then they currently have. The post is not usually anyone's friend and last night, among other nights, it was not Orlando’s.
Road Woes Continue
Despite Orlando City creating several opportunities, the Lions found themselves trailing 60 minutes into the game. Christian Ramirez’s breakaway goal for Minnesota — one of the Western Conference’s worst teams — was enough to sink Orlando, which looked like one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference over the first two months of the season. This has been a common theme for Orlando, as winning on the road has been difficult. In fact, the Lions have only have managed one win on the road this season and at this rate it is tough to see where the next one comes.
Kaká’s Creativity was Missed
Kaká didn’t make the trip and he was missed in the game even though Orlando was able to create opportunities. The opportunities came but the finishing was not evident and too many times a play broke down due to a lack of ideas around the top of the box. Kaká is obviously great for so many reasons but one of his underappreciated abilities is making everyone around him better. When players step on the field with Kaká they are simply better than what they previously were because he puts them in advantageous situations. My hot take is that with Kaká on the field, Orlando City finishes a shot or two, completely changing the outcome of the game. Watching Orlando play without Kaká just makes you understand that he is the team’s only true play-maker. And yes, I had to talk about Kaká.
Going Down a Goal is Always Bad
Orlando City has yet to win a match when conceding the first goal. The Lions did come back to lead after falling behind against Sporting Kansas City, but still earned just a tie. Orlando City has lost each game (five) other than the Kansas City game after going down a goal and against Minnesota it was no different. The Lions are fortunate to be at home, a safe haven for the most part, for the next three games before traveling to Seattle. Hopefully they can gain some momentum and go and surprise the Sounders at CenturyLink.
It Wasn’t All Terrible (Or Turribul as Charles Barkley would say)
The team really didn’t play all that bad. They created chances fairly well and the defense was well organized but the stigma of playing an away game plus a mixture of recent bad results have led to yet another loss for Orlando. An away game is not the happy place for the Lions right now. In this game, link-up play was decent, Rivas found shots and opportunities, Larin had one great opportunity and the defense put a halt to many attacks from Minnesota. A win or an escape tie was just not in the cards. All Orlando can do now is look forward and try to make good on the next opportunity.
Orlando City does not travel again until June 21, and that should hopefully put some momentum back in favor of the Lions. Three straight games at home should be a very welcome blessing for a team that has fallen from the top of the East to not being able to find a win in six.
That is what saw in the game last night. What did you see? Let us know.