You thought that the draw against the New England Revolution hurt? Strap in. The two matches have quite a bit in common. Orlando City came back twice, a Lion received a red card, and I was disappointed at the end of the match. Given all of that, let’s check out what we “learned” from another loss.
Video Review Continues to Plague Orlando
There are those who will tell you that Orlando has as many calls go for them as against them (trust me, they’re tweeting at me). I disagree, and I think that this game was a microcosm of Orlando City and video review in MLS. Yes, it correctly confirmed that the Wayne Rooney header in the 44th minute shouldn’t count due to Yamil Asad being offside. But it decided that Higuita maliciously elbowed Yamil Asad in the head and the referee issued a red card. Did Higuita’s elbow hit Asad? Yes. Was it malicious and intentional? I’m not sure, but it certainly wasn’t “clear and obvious,” and thus should have been a yellow in my opinion. Video review also decided that Luciano Acosta was not offside, despite that being the call on the field on his second goal. A red card and overturning an offside call that results in a goal are major game-changing decisions, and the majority didn’t go Orlando City’s way.
Road Woes Continue
Nine consecutive road losses. Nine. I feel like Ed Rooney from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. “Nine times.” It’s almost comical at this point, the ways that Orlando City has pulled defeat from the jaws of victory (or at least from not-defeat). Will Johnson is going to get plenty of heat for supposedly giving the ball up to Wayne Rooney that led to the goal, but let’s give the man credit for getting to the ball and trying to play it across to Stefano Pinho who could have scored a go-ahead goal. It didn’t happen that way, but it’s obvious that’s what Johnson was thinking. I’m not sure what else to say about another road loss. Winning on the road when you have all your players is tough. Winning or getting a draw when a man down? Well, it’s definitely not easier. Could Pinho have been a more inviting target, receiving a pass on Johnson’s first touch? Perhaps, if the Brazilian wasn’t intentionally tripped by Luciano Acosta.
This is 100% a foul from Acosta! In my opinion regardless of how awesome the goal was it should not be given. This foul clearly influenced what happened on the field.— IAN PAUL JOY (@JOYPAULIAN) August 13, 2018
Am I right or wrong here? @MLS pic.twitter.com/AqfosmName
Mohamed El-Munir only had to kick the ball up the field and the first half would have ended 0-0. He did not. Instead, he decided that he would “make a move” to get around his man, and take the ball up the pitch. It didn’t work, he was dispossessed and D.C. scored its first goal at the death of first-half stoppage time. That wasn’t the only time he had trouble, as Oniel Fisher continually had his way with El-Munir most of the match.
Orlando City would have to go on an unprecedented run of wins to make it above the line now. This brings up many questions since we were told that the front office felt that the playoffs were certainly obtainable with the players that were on the roster. We all sat amazed as the transfer window closed with Orlando City seemingly doing very little, except bringing in Shane O’Neill (which started before the window opened), and trading away Justin Meram (which, if we look back, also kind of started before the window opened). The club is reportedly trying to bring in Carlos Ascues but it may be too little too late. Odds are the Lions miss the playoffs, and if so, is James O’Connor’s job safe? What about the people who made the decisions in the front office? Should their jobs be safe?
There Were Silver Linings
I don’t want to be all doom and gloom, so let’s call out some positives. Before he was sent off, Cristian Higuita looked to be creative and dangerous in an unfamiliar role. He didn’t start in his usual position, but as an attacking midfielder rather than a defensive midfielder. Uri Rosell also had a heck of a game. He provided the assist on Dom Dwyer’s goal, and it was his strike that created the own goal to give Orlando its first score. Additionally, he did pretty well defensively. Finally, the team never gave up. I know that the mistake at the end cost the Lions the game, but they were still in it well into stoppage time while playing a man down, and initially a goal down. It was heart wrenching, but only because they showed heart.
There are the five takeaways from my perspective. Agree? Disagree? Came over from Twitter to continue a conversation? Put it in the comments.