Coming off the heels of two exhilarating wins at home, the Lions took to the road where they came away with a 2-0 win against the Philadelphia Union. That makes three straight wins for the Lions and their first clean sheet of the season. Here are five takeaways from the game.
Orlando City Still Can’t Stay Healthy
A common theme for Orlando City since joining MLS has been key players getting injured. That continued in Philadelphia when right back RJ Allen, who started for the injured Scott Sutter, suffered a hamstring injury in the 21st minute. He attempted to continue playing, but went down again in the 27th minute, forcing his removal from the game. The Lions already came into this game without Jonathan Spector and Sutter, showing that the injury bug is alive and well in Orlando. The good news? Uri Rosell made the 18, although he didn’t see the field.
Orlando City Finally Has an Attack
Since joining MLS in 2015, Orlando City has had trouble finding multiple forwards that could be counted on to produce goals. Goal scoring for the team generally was placed on the shoulders of Cyle Larin. However, that seems to have changed as the Lions find themselves with two players that have gotten off to a great start. Dom Dwyer has now scored four goals in three games, looking in the form that saw him score 22 goals for Sporting Kansas City in 2014, and Chris “Cash” Mueller has settled into MLS play quicker than many expected, having scored two goals in his last two games. With all the defensive injuries this team has suffered, this newfound attack could be its saving grace.
Joe Bendik Back to His Old Self
With all the disappointment of the past two seasons, Joe Bendik has been a bright spot. While his strong performances haven’t always resulted in three points, he has always made a difference. This year, Bendik got off to a poor start, uncharacteristically being at fault for goals and letting balls through him that he usually wouldn’t. In Philadelphia, Bendik looked much more like he did the past two seasons where he was a wall in front of the Orlando City net. Considering that the team came into this one giving up five goals in the past two games, that’s definitely a good sign.
Defensive Problems Still Exist
To be fair to the Orlando City back line, they were missing the captain in the middle as well as the starting and backup right backs, but the Union had chances from David Accam in the first half and had their way down the right side in the second half. Way too many balls got into the six with no clearance from a defender, leaving the Lions very lucky to keep their lead. This isn’t too surprising considering that the team has given up five goals in the last two games, but it shows once again that the Lions may have to outscore teams to gain points this season.
It’s a Winning Streak
Don’t look now, but Orlando City is on a winning streak. While fans got used to long winning streaks during the club’s dominant USL run, this is only the third time the Lions have won at least three straight games since joining MLS in 2015. The first streak came in 2015 when the team won five straight to climb back into the playoff hunt late in the season. To begin the 2017 season, they went streaking again, winning four straight. After comeback wins at home against the New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers the last two games, this clean sheet performance provided the team with something rarely seen in the City Beautiful these days.
Those are my takeaways from this game. What did you see? Let us know in the comments below.