Orlando City mercifully played its last match of the season on Sunday, traveling to New Jersey to face the New York Red Bulls. The Lions fell 1-0 to the Red Bulls to finish the season with yet another loss. Is there anything we can learn from the match? Even if there is, will it make a difference given the season is over? Let’s find out.
Too Many Defensive Giveaways
Orlando City once again gave up too many balls in the defensive end of the field. Turning the ball over easily on your team’s side is never a good idea. It was a giveaway that led to the penalty, and unfortunately too many of the New York Red Bulls’ chances came from such turnovers. This has been a problem that has plagued Orlando City nearly all season. There wasn’t one culprit either, as many players gave the ball away at inopportune times during the match. Staying on the defense is a sure way to not be able to score goals on offense.
Grinwis Was Mostly Great
Adam Grinwis made some very good decisions in New Jersey, including seeing Sacha Kjlestan telling him to go to his right on the penalty kick attempt by Derrick Etienne. Grinwis made the save and continued to keep the ball out of the net until Etienne got one past him in the 53rd minute. Despite allowing that goal, Grinwis did keep the match closer than maybe it could have been. He came up big again in the 83rd minute with a great save against Bradley Wright-Phillips. He had another big one in the 94th minute, to keep the game in reach for the Lions.
Dwyer Was Mostly Offside
Dom Dwyer has had several goals and scoring opportunities stripped away by offside calls. He had another in the match with the Red Bulls. Dwyer had seemingly drawn the Lions even only to have it pulled back. It could be said that he has a pressing and aggressive nature when it comes to his play, and that would be fair, and potentially how he scores some goals. Top strikers walk that fine line between staying on and being off, trying to play on the last defender’s back shoulder, and it can be a frustrating match for fans when they can’t quite find the right timing.
No Spoiler for Sacha
Sacha Kjlestan played many years with the New York Red Bulls, and he was hoping to play spoiler against his old team on Sunday. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Sacha was the one to take a free kick outside of the box, but it sailed too high. He made his presence known throughout the game even though he wasn’t able to help the Lions break through and get a much-needed goal. On top of that, the Red Bulls won the Supporters’ Shield thanks to the win over Orlando, and Atlanta United FC losing to Toronto FC.
A Disappointing End
This is the last five takeaways column of the 2018 Season, and that’s probably for the best. I’m certain we could go back over the last few months and see a lot of the same trends through the Lions’ losses. The final takeaway is that this was a season of disappointment, and the final game lived up to that. Orlando City was able to stay in the match throughout the 90 minutes, despite the penalty, due to a willingness to put in the work in a meaningless game. With all the factors mentioned above it wasn’t surprising that the Red Bulls finally broke through, but it was still disappointing. It wasn’t surprising that Orlando City lost, but it was disappointing.
There you have it. Agree or disagree? Think there was something I missed? Let me know in the comments below.