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Simple Mistakes Are Hurting Orlando City

Sloppiness in multiple areas is stopping the Lions from winning games.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City dropped its sixth game in a row on Wednesday against the Montreal Impact in what was an extremely frustrating game once again. Frustration has been the theme during the skid that has seen the team match a six-game winning streak with a losing streak just as long. And frustration was the name of the game again in Montreal, especially since a failure to do the little things right was what ended up costing Orlando City.

The first and most obvious thing to discuss in regards to not doing simple things correctly is finishing. The Lions took 11 shots but only put three of them on target. If a team is only going to put three shots on target, then they need to be accurate and Orlando’s simply weren’t. Yes, Dom Dwyer’s header in the 31st minute wasn’t the easiest chance in the world to take, but you can also make the argument that he probably should have done better with Tony Rocha’s 11th minute cross that he wasn’t able to make contact with. To put it simply, poor finishing cost the Lions, and not for the first time. Not every goal has to be pretty, it just has to cross the line. That’s just something Orlando has struggled to do over the last six games, as well as earlier in the week.

Next up is passing, more specifically passing accuracy. Orlando completed 80% of its passes against the Impact but many of the passes that went astray were giveaways to a Montreal player in a dangerous area. Whether it was a defender misplacing a pass while trying to play the ball out from the back or a simple pass being misplayed in the midfield, the team was lacking the kind of sharpness and precision that the night required. None of the giveaways directly led to Impact goals, but against better teams that might not be the case.

The final thing that needs to be corrected is the high amount of mental mistakes, particularly the tackles by Dwyer and Cristian Higuita that resulted in yellow cards. Perhaps it seems harsh to single the two of them out, but the foul Dwyer committed was late, unnecessary, and resulted in him walking on a tightrope for the rest of the match rather than with the almost angry sort of energy that Orlando fans are used to seeing. Higuita’s tackle was similar to what fans have seen from him before, a hard challenge where he simply didn’t get the ball. The problem was that with the team already down a goal, one of the team’s defensive midfielders now had to play extra carefully, resulting in the midfield losing some of its steel. To make matters worse, Higuita will now miss the June 23 rematch against Montreal due to yellow card accumulation.

This wasn’t a game where Orlando was played off the pitch. Indeed, very few of the Lions’ losses this year have come as a result of the Lions simply being outclassed. Rather they have been due to little things, whether it’s the poor finishing that has plagued the team on more than one occasion or simply lapses in concentration that lead to easy goals. More often than not, the team isn’t being outplayed but is shooting itself in the foot. And man is it frustrating.