Back-to-back games against Atlanta United saw Orlando City give up late goals, both by Hector Villalba. The Lions have had a love/hate relationship with late game theatrics since their MLS debut in 2015 and the constant theme continues to plague Orlando, for better or worse. What can you say? The team loves the dramatics.
With this latest trend of late-game goals popping up again, I decided to look back at the last two seasons to see just how much Orlando has changed in a year, both under former coach Adrian Heath and current coach Jason Kreis, and to see if the Lions are better or worse in terms of goals scored vs. goals allowed.
Let's begin with the five months of 2016 under Adrian Heath. The first match sparked the t-shirt saying “Orlando loves stoppage time” after Cyle Larin and Adrian Winter scored two goals in the final two minutes of stoppage time against Real Salt Lake. Then, just one month later, Orlando was beaten by a free kick from Philadelphia Union midfielder Tranquillo Barnetta in the 92nd minute, thus beginning a trend of a love/hate relationship with late game goals. In total, under Heath in those five months alone, Orlando conceded 10 goals after the 75th minute, but ended up scoring nine of them. In those games where the team either scored or conceded late, Orlando amassed a 2-3-6 record.
When Jason Kreis took over, things got a bit more normal. Over the three months he was in charge in 2016, the Lions conceded five goals after 75 minutes and scored six, resulting in a 4-4-1 record. That calculates out to 12 points earned in 11 games under Heath in late-game situations and 13 points in nine games under Kreis.
Now in 2017, the trend that Kreis started after taking over has remained fairly constant. Orlando has scored six goals late and conceded five. To this point in the season, Orlando has recorded a 3-4-4 record in 11 games with goals scored late. That comes out to 13 points in 11 games for this year’s Lions squad.
Since the beginning of 2016, Orlando has gone 9-11-11 with combined goals scored after 75 minutes and 7-8-5 under Kreis. The Lions have scored 12 goals and conceded 11 in that time frame as well.
So, looking at the overall stats of games, Orlando is better at scoring late than conceding under Jason Kreis and the Lions have a better record with more points earned compared to the team under Adrian Heath, even though the statistics aren’t that much different. Now, that’s not a knock on Heath mind you, but it does show that the Lions, despite their last two results, are improving slightly in late-game situations over time, which will hopefully save Orlando City fans’ hearts from exploding from the tension of late-game theatrics for the future.