Coming off of a 1-0 win in New York last week, Orlando City returned home to face D.C. United. In a game that saw the Lions create several great opportunities, the visitors took advantage of a controversial call with an excellent free kick to beat the hosts, 2-1. Here are my takeaways from this game.
Orlando City Squandered Chances
While the Lions were beaten on the night, they had plenty of opportunities to collect all three points. Nani had a golden chance from a terrific Dom Dwyer pass in the eighth minute, but the header went over the bar. Chris Mueller and Ruan provided some excellent balls late in the game that just couldn’t find the last touch. This game will be remembered as one that got away after those missed chances.
Referees Continue to Let Stars Run Games
Allowing star players to make decisions for referees has long been a problem with the league and it occurred again in this game. At the half hour mark, Wayne Rooney tipped the ball away from a sliding Dwyer who was attempting to make a tackle. The referee, Armando Villarreal, initially allowed play to continue and the linesman kept his flag down. However, after Rooney told Villarreal that it was a foul, the referee changed his decision. While in most leagues the referee controls the game, certain players seem to in MLS. Fans will disagree on whether there was intent and cause for a foul, but the fact that the call was made by the player rather than the referee is troubling, though not surprising.
No Ideas in the Box
Orlando City had no problem building an attack through the midfield most of the night, but it too often stalled when the attack reached the box. As players held up, it would become pinball as the ball pinged around before being cleared. This caused some great potential chances to be squandered. Only Nani seemed to be able to create space and opportunity for teammates. While not an uncommon problem for this team, it must be solved to collect points in games such as this one.
Cash Mueller Provides the Spark...Again
I may sound like a broken record saying this, but Chris Mueller provided a spark for the team off the bench. Entering at the hour mark, the midfielder provided energy and played some beautiful balls into the box. His energy helped the team cut the two-goal deficit in half and nearly led a complete comeback. James O’Connor may use Mueller as a super sub moving forward and it’s hard to blame him after those 30 minutes.
Dom Dwyer Approaching a Club Record
When Dom Dwyer was traded to Orlando City from Sporting Kansas City, he stated that his goal was to become the club’s all-time leading goal scorer. He got closer yesterday with his goal in the 63rd minute. His 42nd goal for the club in all competitions (both USL and MLS eras combined) ties him with Kevin Molino and sits just two back of Cyle Larin.
This is what I took from Orlando City’s 2-1 loss to D.C. United. Let us know what you took from the game in the comments below.