Orlando City B dropped its seventh straight game Saturday night and once again it was mostly due to mental mistakes made by the Young Lions. It’s something that has become an unwelcome trend for the young team.
If there’s one thing that you can point to as to why OCB is sitting in last place in USL League One, it would be mental mistakes. The Young Lions have left several points on the table due to these mistakes. In a league that has many teams bunched together for the fourth and final playoff spot, those lapses have been the difference between where they are and a successful season.
The trend of giving away points this season started in just the third game. OCB had taken the lead in the 59th minute through an Ates Diouf strike. As the seconds of injury time wound down, it appeared as though OCB would claim its first win of the season. But with just seconds remaining, a long free kick into the box found the head of South Georgia Tormenta FC defender Lars Eckenrode. OCB’s inability to clear cost them two points in that game.
Probably the most noticeable game where poor defensive mistakes cost OCB was on June 12. Hosting FC Tucson, the Young Lions went into that game with a four-game unbeaten streak and a three-game home winning streak. They controlled much of the game but fell apart late in the first half. Jamael Cox opened the scoring in the 44th minute for Tucson and Kyle Venter doubled their lead two minutes later. Thiago Souza pulled one back in the second half but it wasn’t enough as the Young Lions fell 2-1.
“All of the team had a lack of concentration the last three minutes,” OCB’s head coach at the time, Fernando Jose de Argila Irurita, said after the game. “The other team, when he saw our mistake, he knew how to take advantage of that. I think if we go to halftime 0-0, probably we will win this game.”
You would expect a team as young as OCB to have certain lapses in concentration but it’s been way too common this season. Especially when you consider the team features older defenders like Matheus Silva, Brandon John, and Randy Mendoza, who would be expected to keep a level head.
OCB’s loss Saturday night can be largely blamed on the same mental mistakes that plagued the team throughout the year. Tucson’s first goal was off a counter attack after Ates Diouf was unable to sense the defender on his back and lost the ball. The lead was doubled when goalkeeper Juliano Chade took his time clearing, allowing Jordan Jones to strip him and score.
The loss Saturday night is not the same as earlier games as the team is on a seven-game losing streak with just one point in the past 13 contests. But it was a display of a problem that the team has had all season. Even if OCB only made one of those mistakes, it could have come back in the second half. But two goals was too much to overcome and neither should have occurred.
OCB remains on 13 points, nine points behind the next team in the standings. But there are just seven points between fourth and eighth. It’s unclear if some of these mental mistakes would’ve put the team in the hunt for a playoff spot, but it would be much better off. Instead, the team is suffering a disastrous run as it simply tries to survive the remainder of the season.