Man, where to even start? Orlando City had played two great and complete games in a row and things seemed to be starting to turn around even though the results didn’t show it. This game was anything but a continuation of that apparent progress.
The Lions (8-12-7, 31 points) weren’t nearly good enough and showed none of the effort of the last two matches or even the opening 45 minutes at New York in the team’s most recent road contest before tonight. Orlando villain Kei Kamara scored a hat trick and Teal Bunbury added a goal in stoppage time in a 4-0 New England win that could have been even worse had video review not overturned a Lee Nguyen goal.
It was the most lopsided game of the series, in which Orlando drops to 1-2-3 in six outings, and equals the team’s two previous worst losses of the season. Oh, and it drops Orlando below New England (9-12-5, 32 points) in the standings. Three more road games await on this road trip, too.
Jose Aja was sent off after two yellow cards, leaving his teammates to fend with only 10 men. Leo Pereira made critical errors throughout the game. Kaká and Carlos Rivas were turnover machines. It’s hard to find any positives, so I’m not going to strain to try.
Kreis took his team to New England on Thursday to see if the stress of travel could be alleviated with an early arrival. It didn’t work. The Lions were listless, the midfield got overrun all night, and the few attacking movements generally ended in either a turnover or a corner kick that produced nothing.
Without Cyle Larin and Yoshimar Yotun (international duty), and Jonathan Spector (knee injury), the lineup necessarily changed. Tommy Redding was replaced by Aja but the back line was otherwise the same as the last few games. The midfield consisted of Antonio Nocerino as the No. 6 with Kaká at the top between Giles Barnes to the left and Dillon Powers right. Rivas and Dom Dwyer made up the strike force.
After a few early warning signs during which Joe Bendik denied Bunbury and Kamara, and a whole lot of possession by the Revs, Kamara scored his first at the 26-minute mark. Barnes tried to dispossess Caldwell but the ball deflected to where the Revs player could pass on to Nguyen, who returned it back to him, slotting him down the right flank as Pereira had gambled and lost trying to break up the play. Caldwell crossed in the air to Kamara who made no mistake on the volley.
Dwyer nearly equalized six minutes later after Kaká headed a ball into the area after a set piece and Aja sent a back heel to Dom behind the defense. The striker fired immediately but hit Cody Cropper’s leg and it stayed out, then it bounced back to Aja who had his shot blocked. That was the best chance of the night for Orlando and, as has been the case far too often during the current eight-game winless skid, it lacked the required quality to finish the play.
It nearly became 2-0 just before the half as Nguyen scored from a tough angle, but the play was reviewed and ruled offside. New England led 1-0 at the break. It could have been 1-1 but it could also have been much worse.
After the break, Bendik was forced to make two early saves in the opening seconds, which was a sign of the carnage to come throughout the second half. Orlando looked unlikely to break through and Kamara scored the second at the 75-minute mark. Five minutes later, Aja picked up his second yellow of the match trying to hold Kamara, who went on to complete the hat trick at 89 minutes. Bunbury finished things off.
Orlando City goes next to D.C. United on Sept. 9.