With the season winding down, and the playoffs a distant thought, Orlando City hosted the Houston Dynamo for the first time at Orlando City Stadium. What can we take away from the 0-0 draw? I propose we can take away a lot.
Grinwis Good in Debut
Outside of the play that required video review, he had a solid night. His distribution to other players, both in buildup and sending the ball to the midfield line was a stark contrast to what we have witnessed over the past few weeks. He certainly has the vision, and the footwork, and although he was part of a moment requiring review to overturn a Houston goal, he showed some cojones during the match, and showed so much potential.
His run of play is making it difficult to not just hand him any number of end-of-year awards. Personally, I think he fits so much better in the defensive midfield role as opposed to being one of the center backs. Starting him in a spot that allows him to make forward runs, as well as giving him the freedom to roam, knowing that others can cover a defensive midfield slot, made for a wonderful evening.
Now That Was Defense
The 4-2-3-1 has been something we have seen throughout the season, although we haven’t seen too many minutes of the back four we saw last night. Sure, some will argue that the Lions were only playing Houston, but that was the first shutout for the team since Week 6. That’s right, everyone, a goalkeeper who got his first MLS start tonight and the back four I have been hoping for all season got the first home shutout. Let that sink in.
Solid Night All Around
Looking at the match as a whole, that might have been the best overall performance from the XI in a very long time. This was easily the only match this season where I didn’t want to see any of the starting XI removed from the pitch for fear it would affect the on-field chemistry. I say this even while I was watching Chris Mueller warm up. Come at me bro, but the performance last night was rock solid, from front to back.
I Feel Sorry for JOC
With five matches left in the 2018 season, I am beginning to have too many feels towards the decisions that will need to be made this off-season by Head Coach James O’Connor. As many have speculated, it might be that point in the season when the starting XI is someone’s chance to prove they deserve a spot on the first team. Even though many aren’t willing to say it, the team’s chances of making the playoffs are almost none. So now is the time, at the 11th hour, to call upon players and question their testicular fortitude. It will certainly make for an interesting end to the season, but one that should be out in the open.
These are my takeaways from Orlando City’s 0-0 draw with Houston. I am very curious to hear what you took away from the match. Please let me know in the comments.