Orlando City SC has definitely turned its 2018 Major League Soccer season around. After collecting one only point in their first three matches, the Lions have bounced back in style with four straight victories. The last one was last night at Orlando City Stadium, when the team prevailed, 3-2 over the San Jose Earthquakes.
It was an important victory for the Lions and here are our five takeaways:
A Hundred Times Dom Dwyer
Striker Dom Dwyer has arguably been Orlando City’s best player in 2018 so far. The Lions have won each of the four matches in which he has played, and he has scored in each of them, netting five goals. It was no different against San Jose and the 27-year-old forward still had a milestone to celebrate, as he reached his 100th goal as professional in a typical striker fashion as he rounded Andrew Tarbell and tapped it into the empty net.
Three in Three for Mueller
Rookie forward Chris Mueller has also been instrumental to Orlando’s reaction this season. The 21-year-old player scored in each of the team’s last three matches and also helped the Lions with an assist against San Jose. If Mueller started the season looking like he could be an important piece off the bench for Orlando, now it seems hard to envision the Lions without him in the starting lineup.
Yoshi-Mueller Connection Working
Much of Mueller’s success last night came with the help of Yoshimar Yotún, as the Peruvian Designated Player assisted the rookie on the first two goals the Lions scored. On the first, Yoshi launched a long pass to Mueller, who dribbled inside the box and fired. On Sacha Kljestan’s goal, it was a Yotún’s one-touch pass that set the forward free to feed the captain between the posts.
Uri Rosell Debuts
Considered one of the most exciting signings of Orlando City for the 2018 season, Spanish midfielder Oriol Rosell finally made his debut for the club. The 25-year-old defensive midfielder was subbed in with only six minutes to be played and only had time to complete three passes, get one interception and make two fouls. Not a large sample from him, but as he regains his form he should be an important piece for the Lions moving forward.
Defensive Set Pieces Still an Issue
Orlando City definitely has good momentum, but there are things that still need to be fixed and defending set pieces is certainly one of them. As Head Coach Jason Kreis said after the match, it only takes commitment, organization and focus to avoid conceding goals on dead-ball situations and, perhaps because of the huge lead, the Lions lacked that in the final minutes against San Jose and almost jeopardized the three points.