Welcome back, Mane Landers. Still feeling good after the Cardiac Cats made that spectacular comeback against Portland? I know I am, and we should be looking forward to this weekend, but before we do that, let’s look back at the past week.
Please keep reading past this section, despite what I’m about to write. The good for this week was the coaching of Jason Kreis. Very many supporters have been critical of the 4-4-2 diamond that Kreis prefers. This match, with nearly every player available except Oriol Rosell, he brought out a 4-2-3-1 formation. Despite being down 2-0 until the 80th minute, Orlando held the lead in time of possession with 58%, shots at 24, and set piece opportunities with 10. Those stats speak to a team that was playing well, just not finishing well. It’s was then that Kreis made his next good coaching move. Needing a change in the offense, he brought on both Chris Mueller and Stefano Pinho. With all three strikers on the pitch, the momentum and energy shifted to Orlando City, and we know what happened next. Can Orlando City rely on such late game heroics to win games consistently? Of course not. But, if the team were to bring in a bit more of that clinical finishing earlier in the match, we might not need them to do so.
Last Wednesday, Toronto FC defeated Club America in the Concacaf Champions League, 3-1. Following the match, Club America Head Coach Miguel “Piojo” Herrera blamed everything except the play of his squad. He contested the penalty kick against his team, how many fouls Jozy Altidore had, and a yellow card against one of his players. He even said that his team was affected by the referee making his team change underwear. That’s right, underwear. Herrera had previously made statement to the effect that Liga MX is a step above MLS. One can’t help but think there may be a bit of sour grapes since Club America lost 4-2 on aggregate to MLS side Toronto FC.
Two of the expected contenders for the UEFA Champions League Cup are out. Both Manchester City and Barcelona fell this week in the quarterfinals. Heading into Tuesday, Liverpool was up 3-0 on aggregate going into the second leg at Etihad Stadium. City would need a huge game to overcome Liverpool’s lead, and it wasn’t to be. Despite City getting the first goal, Liverpool — behind Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino — put it completely out of reach with two second half goals. This result wasn’t quite as surprising as what A.S. Roma pulled on Barcelona. Heading into the second leg, Barca had a 4-1 aggregate lead, though Roma had the away goal advantage. All it would take would be for Roma to defeat Barca by three goals to advance. That might have seemed like an absurd result if you had asked most soccer fans prior to that match. Surely, a team with Lionel Messi wouldn’t lose 3-0 in a Champions League match? Well, that’s exactly what happened, and Roma shocked the world. In the space of a few hours two domestic league champions fell. For those teams and those fans, it was an ugly afternoon.
There you have it. Did I choose correctly? What would you have put instead? Let us know in the comments below. Go City, and go Pride!