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Orlando City at Portland Timbers: Five Takeaways

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What did we learn from Orlando City’s trip to the Pacific Northwest?

MLS: Orlando City SC at Portland Timbers Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

It went from bad to worse in Orlando City’s 3-0 loss to the Portland Timbers late Sunday night. What did we learn from yet another lopsided loss for the short-handed Lions?

Not Spector’s Night

It’s been a rough going for Jonathan Spector since returning to the lineup from his knee injury. Darren Mattocks gave him fits with his speed, resulting in Spector making a rash challenge and giving up a penalty in just the 15th minute. It was just the worst instance of several that forced the veteran center back to chase the Jamaican international around the final third, including a run that was saved only by Mattocks slipping on the turf. Tommy Redding and Seb Hines fared no better, but the Lions’ defensive leader struggled mightily before being sent off for his second yellow less than two minutes into the second half.

More Cheap Giveaways

It was a return to long ball soccer for Orlando and there’s an argument that it was necessary. The Lions had seven turnovers in their own half alone, setting off the Timbers on the break several times and catching City’s defense out of position. With the lack of pace on the Lions’ back line, it was killer. Orlando City finished with 83% completion on the night and just 41.7% of the total possession. It’s tough when playing a man down for half of the match, but the Lions couldn’t do much when it was 11 vs. 11 either.

Bendik Stayed Strong

It’s not often that you can say a 3-0 score line is flattering for the losing team, but if not for Joe Bendik the Timbers would have tested the limits of the scoreboard. Portland’s speed across the pitch put their attackers one-on-one with the goalkeeper early and often but he came up clutch with seven saves, often as the last man standing. He nearly stopped the third goal as well but Valeri out-hustled the Orlando defenders and put away the rebound. It was a good night between the sticks despite the result.

Laryea Bright in Relief

The Canadian youngster made his eighth substitute appearance of the year once the result was already well in hand for Portland. But he buzzed all around the midfield, completing all but one of his passes and winning a foul in the Timbers’ half. It will be interesting to see if his minutes increase in the final four matches of the season.

Red Cards Keep Coming

Orlando was reduced to nine men for the third time this year after PC was given a straight red card for an elbow to Diego Chara just seven minutes after he was subbed on. It was City’s eighth red card this season and fourth in the last three matches. It’s been a difficult season for the Lions in the discipline department with so many suspensions on and off the field. With Spector and PC due to miss out on Orlando’s midweek clash with the New England Revolution, the Lions may end up limping to the finish line.