Lately, there’s been no shortage of fans of our treasured Lions crying doom and gloom and the end of days for the club. Given the fact that Orlando City has a 1-6-4 record (all competitions) since the beginning of June, concern and frustration are certainly understandable.
There are, however, plenty of reasons to be optimistic heading into the stretch that will either make or break the team’s playoff hopes. For one, the signings of Dom Dwyer, Yoshimar Yotun, and Dillon Powers point to club management being very much aware that a problem exists and that they are taking steps to try to rectify the team’s poor performances. There are probably people out there who think the squad would have been better off with signings in other areas, but at least club management personnel haven’t sat on their hands and done nothing at all.
Next, there’s the matter of the recent performance during the game against the New York Red Bulls. While it might seem strange to say that the team was unlucky in losing 3-1, the reality is that the game easily could have gone very differently. Don’t forget that Luis Robles pulled off a frankly spectacular save from a wicked Cyle Larin shot in the first half, and new boy Yotun crashed a shot off the crossbar in the second half just a few minutes after Antonio Nocerino curled a shot that looked to have Robles beat just wide of the post. Obviously we can sit here and say shoulda, coulda, woulda until the metaphorical cows come home, but the fact is that even one of those shots going in makes the game very different.
Even putting aside the three missed golden chances, the fact that we even created those chances speaks to a team that is heading in the right direction. In recent weeks it isn’t unfair to say that the Lions have looked every inch a team suffering from a summer slump. Performances have been sluggish and lacking cohesion, with wondergoals like the Kaká strike against Atlanta doing little to paper over the cracks that were beginning to show.
But the first half of the game against the Red Bulls was like watching a completely different team. The Lions played an energetic, up-tempo game, pressed high up the field, and seemed to be slipping passes in behind the Red Bulls’ back line at will. Unfortunately, the second half was a different story, and the Lions couldn’t seem to repeat their good first half performance, especially after the Red Bulls scored their second goal in the 60th minute.
All in all though, it seems (to me at least) that there are certainly some signs that point to improvement in the coming games. Besides, it could always be worse; OCSC still isn’t as bad as D.C. United (dear God, please let us beat DCU in September, I’ll do anything). So buck up and smile all you Eeyores out there, at least you don’t have a nail in your butt like he does. Or maybe you do. I don’t know what you do in your spare time