It has probably been said a multitude of times, and if you have yet to hear it I am sure you have noticed it: Orlando City is on a six-game winless streak (0-4-2). The team started out the season on a high and even rose up to a No. 1 ranking league wide, a ranking that felt indisputable at the time. The wildest part of it was the simple fact that most of the success was done without team captain Kaká on the pitch due to injury.
But now the team is on a slide of form in which it cannot buy a win and can barely buy a goal. The dip in performance can be attributed to a number of things, such as play-making and a shaky defense, but there is light at the end of this tunnel.
The Lions hit a few snags on the road after coming off a four-game win streak early in the season. First, they lost to Toronto FC in what was a tough midweek loss that was followed by a disaster of a performance three days later in Houston, falling 4-0. The team looked tired and, while missing some key names in the lineup, unprepared for Houston’s pace. From that point, the team earned two draws followed by another pair of back-to-back losses.
The poor form has included the team’s first home loss of the season. The Lions are also looking for answers in the goal-scoring department, as they have only managed one in the last three games.
The light comes in the form of a three-game home stand. After six games that have not gone in their favor, the Lions will be at home against the likes of D.C. United, the Chicago Fire, and the Montreal Impact, and will fortunately not see an away game until traveling to Seattle on June 21.
This means a few different things for Orlando City as it stands now. The home-field advantage has been the Lions’ best edge all season long as the they have christened the stadium and opened with a 5-1-1 record. The one loss and one tie have unfortunately been earned in the last two stints at home as Orlando has dropped points to Sporting Kansas City and New York City. If a turnaround in form is coming, it will start with home field.
The three straight home games can also help give the struggling Lions a boost of confidence they need desperately. If they can figure it out and find a way to win all three home games, then the confidence will be back in the hearts of our Lions. This can help the club march all the way to Seattle and maybe get a surprise win on the road, something we haven't seen much this season.
D.C. United is a great first opponent to see come to Orlando as the Black & Red have struggled early this season, sitting at 4-6-2 and second to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. D.C. United is coming off an away victory in the always-tough home of the Vancouver Whitecaps. This is a positive for D.C. as it heads to another tough environment in Orlando.
The Montreal Impact are the third team Orlando City will face within the three-game home stand. Having Montreal and D.C. United, two bottom-of-the-table teams, at home can be a major blessing as the Lions are looking to bounce back and win games. United struggles offensively even more so than Orlando City, scoring only 10 times compared to 14 goals by the Lions. The Impact have just simply not figured out how to win games yet this season, tasting victory just three times in 11 games.
While two of the three games could prove to be beneficial to Orlando City, the one game to truly be worried about is against the Chicago Fire. While the Lions have been struggling, the Fire have been the exact opposite. Chicago has not lost in five matches and is currently on a four-game win streak after beating one of the league’s best teams, FC Dallas, 2-1. They have been a revamped side since the arrival of Bastian Schweinsteiger and have yet to look back. Beating the Fire at home could give the Lions a huge boost of confidence moving forward.
All in all, the games are going to be tough for Orlando because a struggling team is just that, a struggling team. It will be interesting to see how the team comes out and performs in the first half of the game against D.C. United — that will tell us fans a lot of what to expect. My hope is simple, I want the Lions to come out and look like the team they were when they rose to the top of the East. To do that they will need a little more togetherness, more play-making, and better decision making, too. If everything goes perfectly, Orlando will win all three games at home and that early season demeanor will be restored fully.
How do you think the Lions will fare over the three game home stand? Let us know in the comments below.