Orlando City headed up to Ohio for what could potentially be its last away match against the Columbus Crew. In what should have been three points, or at least one point on the road, it all turned to ashes, as Orlando gave up late goals again in a 3-2 loss. Let’s see what we learned from the match.
No Dom, No Problem...Initially
With Orlando City having to play so many matches in such a short time, it was to be expected that we would see some changes from the normal lineup. Dom Dwyer was on the bench after playing all 90+ minutes against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday. As such, Stefano Pinho got the start and was all alone up top. Fortunately, Sacha Kljestan was pretty good in the box with an assist on Pinho’s goal and one of his own. Unbelievably, the two goals weren’t enough to secure any points on the road.
Orlando City Attacking More
Orlando City went on the attack from the first touch, in an effort to get on the scoreboard early. For the second time since James O’Connor has taken the reins, Orlando City struck first on a one-timer by Kljestan in the 16th minute. It almost happened even earlier when Yoshimar Yotún hit the right post in only the second minute of play. Later in the match, Orlando had several opportunities to counterattack the Crew, including the second goal scored by Pinho. O’Connor said the team would play a more attacking style, and while it still has a way to go, you can see the difference in how the team moves to the ball.
Joe Bendik hasn’t started in a few games, having made way for Earl Edwards Jr. Bendik had been struggling this year. Those struggles, combined with an open competition when O’Connor arrived, allowed Edwards to take the top spot. It didn’t last long though, as Edwards went down with the dreaded lower body injury in the 32nd minute, rolling his ankle. The equalizer from Columbus came in the 51st minute, and while Bendik may not have been at fault, he was still in goal. He did do what he does best with a great reaction save in the 76th minute to maintain the lead. Ultimately, Joe had to deal with a penalty kick and what might be goal of the year from Will Trapp in the loss. It remains to be seen if Bendik will win the starting job back or if we’ll see Edwards between the sticks against New York City FC (or whenever he is recovered from his knock).
Late Goals Hurt Again
Once again, Orlando City gave up late goals to drop points. On the road, at home, it doesn’t seem to matter. The Lions get to the late part of any match, and things seem to just fall apart. This week, Columbus got some help from the referee (see below), but the Lions still put themselves in a position to give up those goals. Hopefully, this is something that O’Connor has a plan to correct.
PRO Gonna PRO
Orlando City extended its road losing streak to seven as PRO referee Silviu Petrescu gave Columbus the lightest foul of the season to allow the Crew to equalize in the 88th minute on a penalty kick. Petrescu went to his earpiece and it took only seconds to point back to the spot as he opted not to look at the play himself. It seems to be a theme recently. Just remember, don’t mistake incompetence for conspiracy. Even though it feels like MLS and PRO are out to get Orlando City, they’re not. Probably.
Those are my takeaways from the match. Did I miss something? Did I get something right? Just want to rant about PRO? Let us know in the comments below.