It was another tough night for Orlando City SC fans as the Lions faced Western Conference leaders FC Dallas on the road and, after some promising first minutes, couldn’t stop their opponents, who earned a 2-0 victory at Toyota Stadium. Frustration has been building up within Orlando’s fan base and the match in Texas displayed a few more reasons for that.
Here are our five takeaways:
The Struggle is Real
The signs were everywhere. Almost three months without a victory. Four matches without scoring a single goal. However, the game in Texas showed how serious Orlando’s slump is. After a somewhat decent first half and some goal-scoring opportunities, the Lions were completely dominated in the final portion of the game and didn’t offer any resistance to FC Dallas as the hosts built their victory. A lot has to change for this team to be able to compete next season.
Still Scoreless Against FC Dallas
This was Orlando’s fourth match against FC Dallas in Major League Soccer and the Lions are yet to score a goal against the Texans, who have won three of four games, notching eight goals along the way. The only point Orlando got out of this team was a 0-0 draw last year. It’s hard to tell what the reason is, but FC Dallas is obviously not a good matchup for the Lions.
What Were You Thinking, James?
This is certainly not to blame Head Coach James O’Connor for either last night’s result or the team’s bad stretch, but his substitutions were curious, at best. With Orlando already trailing 2-0, O’Connor took Chris Mueller, one of the few offensive pieces of the system, and Will Johnson off and brought Richie Laryea and Cristian Higuita onto the field. Higuita is a defensive-minded midfielder and Laryea hasn’t played in a long time. Orlando has nothing to lose at this point and while many would expect the team go all in and push forward to get at least one goal, the coach seemed to be more concerned about avoiding a larger defeat.
Peruvian Duo Shows Promise
If something positive can be taken from this match, it was the good connection between Peruvians Yoshimar Yotún and Carlos Ascues in central midfield. Sharing the center of the field, the compatriots were solid for most of the night, combining for four tackles and four shots and were as good as it gets passing the ball, with both connecting north of 86% of their attempts. Yoshi was arguably the most dangerous player for the Lions, firing a couple of dangerous shots toward the target.
Play the Kids
It’s time to accept that the 2018 MLS season is in the past for Orlando City. With four more matches to complete its regular season schedule, this team should stop wasting time and start focusing in 2019 and the best way to do that is by giving youngsters and players who haven’t been on the field frequently a shot at showing what they can do. Adam Grinwis, Jose Villarreal, Pierre Da Silva, Cam Lindley and Laryea are some of the guys who need to be evaluated before the Lions start building their roster for the next season. Unfortunately, Grinwis and Lindley have been battling infections and Da Silva picked up a knee injury while Villareal has also been dealing with a knock. It’s bad timing for some guys who need to see the field.