Coming off a six-game winning streak, Orlando City was completely outplayed in the first half, digging a hole they were unable to get out of in the second half. The Lions must now put this loss behind them as they face a Toronto FC team that will be without stars Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore.
Here are our takeaways from Orlando City’s 2-0 loss to Atlanta United.
Good Substitutions by Jason Kreis
Jason Kreis has proven this year he knows the right changes to make and when to make them. Against Portland, Stéfano Pinho and Chris Mueller were brought on late and changed the game. Their energy, particularly Mueller’s, led to a three-goal flurry in the final 10 minutes that resulted in a 3-2 win. Kreis’ substitutions were on point again against Atlanta, bringing on Uri Rosell and Josué Colmán who completely changed the production in the midfield.
Slow Starts Kill Against Good Teams
During the team’s six-game win streak, it conceded first four times. It was widely observed that could be the team’s downfall against strong teams. That was confirmed against Atlanta, the top team in the east. After falling behind two goals, Atlanta was able to display strong defense and withstand the Orlando City attack. With more tough games coming up, Orlando must find a way to avoid playing from behind.
Some Orlando City Fans Embarrassed the Whole Fan Base
No matter what happens during a game, fans should never cross the line. Orlando City fans crossed the line twice against Atlanta by throwing objects on the field. The first followed Atlanta’s penalty in the 11th minute, when multiple beverages were thrown at Atlanta United players from the supporters’ section in the north end. The second, and most embarrassing, came in stoppage time when a call wasn’t made when Will Johnson went down. It resulted in the field being littered with beer cans. These came from both the supporters’ section and down the sideline. The people who threw these objects embarrassed the club, the fan base, and the city.
No Class Shown by Atlanta United’s Miguel Almirón
Orlando City fans may have been the disgrace of the game but they weren’t the only ones. In the 82nd minute, Darlington Nagbe went to the ground injured and Miguel Almirón pointed toward the sideline, showing Orlando City players he was going to play the ball out. As the defenders backed off, Almirón played the ball forward into the attack. This was a completely classless and shameful action by Almirón, showing no respect for the game or the opponent.
If not for the lack of class showed by Almirón and Orlando City fans, the story from this game might have been the referee, Alan Kelly. In what has become a weekly problem for MLS, Kelly was very inconsistent in this game. Early, every touch was called a foul, usually in favor of Atlanta. However, Kelly allowed play to continue as the game wore on and Orlando City had more possession. It’s not the calls specifically that were troublesome, but the change in how Kelly was making the calls.