I think we can all agree that this was a game to forget for both the team and fans. The Lions might as well have not been with the field, with Houston controlling the game and deploying wave after wave of attack. It would be hard to find positive takeaways in that performance, so I didn’t even try. Let’s get into it.
Orlando Terrorized on the Wings
It wasn’t exactly a secret that this was Orlando’s second road game in less than a week, and third match in eight days, and the wingers of Houston took full advantage of the heavy legs of the defense. Donny Toia was simply unable to handle the speed and creativity of Alberth Elis, as evident by the Dynamo’s first goal. Elis used a couple of step-overs and shoulder feints to get the better of Toia on the edge of the box, before blasting a shot past Bendik at the near post. Romell Quioto was not any easier to handle for Scott Sutter on the opposing wing, especially during those lethal Dynamo counter attacks, which led to goals three and four.
Goals Come from Shots on Target
The first half of this match was definitely one to forget for Orlando. Despite controlling a slight majority of possession, and attempting more passes, the Lions were unable to get a single shot on target during the first 45 minutes. The first shot on target came a couple minutes after a halftime, from a rolling Will Johnson volley that was easy for the goalkeeper to handle. Orlando definitely started to work Joe Willis a little more in the second frame, but nothing too troubling. This was more a case of a lack of dangerous chances, rather than a hot goalie who won’t concede.
Larin Starved for Opportunities
It wasn’t until the 70th minute that Cyle Larin had a decent look at goal. This goes hand in hand with the lack of creativity from the midfield. When the top scorer gets his first chance at goal with 20 minutes left in the match, already down three goals, it is obvious that the offense decided not to show up. If closely covering Larin means opposing teams automatically get a shutout, then City really needs to take up a new plan of attack.
Fatigue is a Factor
Those first 45 minutes for Orlando looked like they had gotten off the plane and walked right onto the field for the game. There were constant giveaways, missed clearances, and incomplete passes; just one after another. While the Lions came out strong in the second half (before quickly conceding again), anyone watching the match could tell they were tired. Playing a hard-fought contest against Toronto, and then immediately traveling to Houston had an obvious toll on the fitness of the players against a well-rested Houston squad. It’s a good thing that every week is not on this schedule.
Joe Bendik Merely Mortal
It certainly was not the best performance we’ve ever seen from our beloved keeper. While it was clear that Houston was running rampant all night, there were a couple that Bendik could have done better on. While the first goal was well set up from Elis, and the shot was a missile, it was from a terrible angle and beat the keeper on the near post. The second goal somehow slipped under Bendik, which I really think he could have had. While the storyline here is Orlando letting in four goals, the fact is that Bendik just could have done a little bit more to maybe hinder the Houston onslaught.
Two straight road losses in a single week are never ideal, but the season is still young, and there is always room to improve. Do you agree with the five takeaways from this match? Let us know down in the comments.