After falling behind early, Orlando City scored three times in the final 30 minutes to defeat Real Salt Lake, 3-1, and win its sixth straight game. This game included two Orlando City MLS records and got the team closer to setting new overall club records.
Here are our takeaways from Orlando City’s latest win.
Hit the Big Guys
Short corners have been making Orlando City fans crazy all season. Rarely have these set plays worked out and many have been calling for crosses into the box. In no game did these short corners make fans crazier than against Real Salt Lake. The team’s two center backs, Lamine Sané and Chris Schuler, were the two tallest players on the field and taller than the opponent’s short back line. Real Salt Lake’s two center backs are both 6-foot-1 and the one 6-foot-3 player in the 18 didn’t enter the game. Yet Orlando City still insisted on short corners throughout most of the game. When it finally did send a corner into the box, it found the head of Sané for the go-ahead goal. This result should show the Lions that short corners are not the way to go, especially when you have the height advantage.
Justin Meram Can’t Buy a Goal
Justin Meram’s goal drought has been on the minds of Orlando City fans and that continued in this game. Two weeks ago, Meram took a penalty against San Jose in an attempt to break the drought, but it was poorly taken and saved by Andrew Tarbell. Against Real Salt Lake, Meram had a great opportunity to score in the 24th minute but sent the ball just wide of goal. As Meram’s goal drought continues, it seems less and less likely that he’ll break out of it.
Offside Trap Continues to Cause Problems
Those that continue to watch Orlando City games are well aware of the issues the back line has had with the offside trap. The line staying tight has been an issue going back to the Portland Timbers game. That continued against Real Salt Lake, resulting in three breakaways. Luckily, Joe Bendik, and the post, were excellent and ensured that the visitors didn’t run away with the game.
Orlando City Closed Out a Game
Orlando City has been improving in stages this season. First, it was able to get a couple of wins against the New York Red Bulls and the Portland Timbers. Then it was able to get the first goal against the Philadelphia Union. However, during the first five matches of the six-game win streak, only twice did the Lions get a multi-goal advantage and only once did they win by more than one. In the team’s last home game against the San Jose Earthquakes, Orlando appeared to have the game in hand at 3-0, only to concede two late goals to make things interesting. That wasn’t the case against Real Salt Lake. Following the third goal, Jason Kreis made defensive substitutions, ending with five defenders and two defensive midfielders. The result was the Lions closing out the game, and the visitors not even coming that close to scoring at the end. That’s an improvement that must continue in upcoming games.
Two New Records
You can’t talk about this game without mentioning the fact that the team set two new records. The first came in the 64th minute when Lamine Sané headed home the corner from Yoshimar Yotún. It was the sixth straight multi-goal game for the team, a new club MLS record. It’s now the club’s second-longest streak of multi-goal games, only behind a seven-goal streak during the 2014 USL Pro season, which lasted from May 21 to July 12.
The other record was the club’s win streak record. The sixth straight win set another club MLS record. The previous record had been five, which lasted from Sept. 13 to Oct. 16 of 2015. The overall club record was set in 2014, when the Lions won eight straight during its incredible 18-game point streak. That included a five-game win streak and an eight-game win streak, separated by just a draw. Keep an eye on the next few games as Orlando City looks to set an all-time club record for consecutive wins.