June was a somewhat tragic and emotional month for Orlando City. The club decided to part ways with its second coach, players were lost for some period of time due to national team duty ahead of the World Cup, and injuries seemed to plague the squad. The month was painful for fans, and even more painful for my crystal ball as I took it out behind the woodshed and put it out of its misery.
There is no need to make anyone wait any longer, so let’s just relive this pain together as quickly as possible and begin the process of healing.
June 2 at New York City FC
Prediction: 2-2 draw.
Actual: 3-0 loss.
It has been a little over a month since this match, but certain aspects still burn through. Dom Dwyer was missing due to injury, Yoshimar Yotún was in Russia, and the Lions fielded what seemed to be a cobbled together back line of Donny Toia, Tony Rocha, RJ Allen, and Will Johnson. The team looked confused, couldn’t connect on any chances, and gave the ball away too many times. Unbeknownst to any of us then, this match would be the precursor to the rest of June.
June 9 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Prediction: 2-0 Orlando City.
Actual: 5-2 loss.
The final scoreline truly does this match injustice as it was a tight, low-scoring affair until late. Five of the seven goals were scored in the last 14 minutes, with six of those being scored in the final eight minutes. Vancouver scored first, part of the running theme of Orlando playing from behind in almost every match, Allen had to be subbed early due to a knock, and Mohamed El-Munir picked up a second yellow in the 58th minute to earn his walking orders. Sacha Kljestan tied the match up six minutes later, and then it all came tumbling down.
June 13 at Montreal Impact
Prediction: 2-0 Orlando City.
Actual: 3-0 loss.
The first of two straight matches against the Impact. This one is most likely to be remembered for the penalty given to Ignacio Piatti in the fifth minute and the unfortunate own goal from Amro Tarek. It was another match marred by a sluggish start that the Lions just never seemed able to recover from. This match also started another tragic streak for Orlando, this one a three-match scoreless run. The final game of a grueling road trip that included a visit to South Florida the previous Wednesday, it was also Jason Kreis’ final match in charge of the Lions.
June 23 vs. Montreal Impact
Prediction: 3-0 Orlando City.
Actual: 2-0 loss.
The only home match in June, the second straight match against Montreal, and a very similar result to the first match just 10 days prior. Oh, it was also the first match for interim coach Bobby Murphy, who brought the Lions out in a 3-4-3. This got some fans excited, while others were shaking their fists at clouds like an old person. Again, the Lions started somewhat chaotically, which was compounded by another own goal, this one awarded to Lamine Sane, and the match just slowly crumbled for the squad from there until the end whistle. The squad never really generated an offensive threat, and the scoreline showed it.
June 30 at Atlanta United
Prediction: 2-1 Atlanta (caveat to this is if Yoshimar Yotun and Amro Tarek are available, then 2-2 draw).
Actual: 4-0 loss for Orlando.
I left my little caveat in because it was an honest part of the prediction. The second MLS regular season match for Bobby Murphy with the same 3-4-3 formation, with a few changes to personnel, in the house of — according to many MLS pundits — the team to beat this season, Atlanta United. Once again, falling behind in the third minute of play is not how you want to start any match, but being away in a very hostile stadium makes it just that much worse. The Lions were able to put together some decent set-piece opportunities, but again had no finishing and just an abundance of individual errors that led to Atlanta counter attacks. This match was the eighth straight league loss for the Lions.
June was the second straight month of horrible predictions, which I am still trying to recover from. Maybe it was just my optimistic side that wouldn’t let silly things like road matches, records, injuries, tired players, and the unexpected change in management affect my judgement. July predictions were made with a new crystal ball, but the reception was extremely fuzzy.
So many variables are flying around right now, including the second transfer window and what effect that will have on the current squad. Remember there is a new center back available to the club as well in Shane O’Neill. If you have a weak disposition, you may want to sit this month out, as I have a feeling it is going to be even bumpier than June, but it shouldn’t be as bleak and downtrodden.
And just to inject a bit of PMA into your life, cause these guys have that PMA: