Orlando City headed to Kansas City to take on Dom Dwyer’s and Uri Rosell’s former team, Sporting Kansas City, and it went pretty much how the entire second half of the season has gone — not well. Obviously, Orlando City lost 1-0, but what can we take away from this particular match?
You Can’t Score from Your Own Half
Orlando City spent nearly the entire match playing defense. It’s very tough to score a goal if you don’t leave your side of the field. There was the one chance early where Dom Dwyer was one on one and couldn’t wrangle the ball in to give Orlando City the lead. As the game went on, it opened up a bit, but Orlando City still was defending more than attacking. It’s very difficult to win a match when defending, and even more so when you go down a goal.
The Lions have absolutely no idea how to get the ball from the defense to the offense. Under pressure all night in their own third, the Lions were unable to relieve the pressure by releasing the attacking players up the pitch. I don’t know if it’s that James O’Connor has put so many defensive minded players on the field or if they were just playing scared, but there was seemingly no connection from the back line to Dom Dwyer, unless it was a long ball over the top. The midfield was totally absent in this match, and it showed. One obvious factor is the absence of Yoshimar Yotún. If you’ve watched any matches this year, it is very apparent that the Lions are a different team without their Peruvian midfielder. Basically, I’m saying stay safe Yoshi.
Playing for Contracts
O’Connor came out this week and stated that the team was looking to build for next year. Not that the club wouldn’t be trying to win games, but that there was a bigger picture. It certainly looked to me like the players were playing for contracts, and not for each other. I’m not saying that there weren’t moments where they played better, and after they went down a goal it seemed to get better. However, this was not a team that was playing for each other, and combined with everything else, it’s not surprising the Lions dropped another.
Road Woes Continue
This was consecutive road loss number 10. That’s nearly a third of every MLS match that the Lions will play this season. The bad news is that Orlando City still has four more away matches. What sort of records for losses could this team set? Those matches are against the Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, the New England Revolution, and the New York Red Bulls. How confident are you that the team can get a win against any of those teams? If O’Connor is being truthful, and he is at this point merely building for next season, then fine. Experiment your giddy Irish butt off, James. Just let us know that’s what you’re doing.
I’m almost joking with that header. Were you actually expecting Orlando City to turn some sort of corner and climb the ladder back into the playoffs? If you were, please send whatever happy pills you are on to me, as I could use the pick-me-up. There’s an axiom in sports that the team that has nothing to lose can be dangerous. That should have been Orlando City last night, but it certainly didn’t look that way. I’m not saying that Orlando City won’t win another game this year, but I’m also not saying that they will. It’s a bit of a stretch at this point to hold out too much hope.
Those are my five takeaways from the double digit consecutive loss. What do you have to add? Did I miss something? Disagree with something I wrote? Let me know in the comments.