Orlando City traveled way up North to take on the New England Revolution. New England has run away from the rest of the Eastern Conference, and the Lions hoped to steal some points from the leaders, but it was not to be. Orlando City played better than it has in recent matches, and was a penalty kick away from perhaps taking a point on the road, but it wasn’t enough as the club fell 2-1 on the road to the Revs. What can we learn from the Lion’s fourth loss in a row?
Adam Buksa took the service from Gustavo Bou and gave the Revolution the early lead in the ninth minute. It is the type of goal that New England has scored so many times this season. It wasn’t how the Lions wanted to start the match, but was entirely predictable. Buksa seemingly got a brace in the 35th minute, but it was actually an own goal by Rodrigo Schlegel. While Buksa might not have scored the second goal, he did manage to cause the own goal with what one could call his physicality. Another way to put it was Buksa practically pushed Schlegel to the ground with a forearm on his neck. That was after a couple of hard shoves from behind in the box that weren’t called in the buildup to the goal.
Big Dike Power
Daryl Dike’s 18th-minute goal was the epitome of what a Daryl Dike goal is supposed to be. He used his strength to muscle past his college teammate Henry Kessler, and then hit the ball with enough power to put it past Matt Turner despite the USMNT goalkeeper getting his hands on it. Turner is lucky he still had hands after trying to stop the shot. He certainly had to adjust his gloves afterwards, as Dike nearly knocked them off. I say all of that, but I don’t want to take away from this footwork on the play either. Dike’s holdup play wasn’t perfect in the match, but he made himself a concern for the New England defense.
More Cards, Another Missed Match
In the 40th minute, Robin Jansson took a heavy touch and then tried to recover the ball outside the Revolution’s area, but was given a yellow for being late with his challenge. The Revolution were looking for a red card, but it was obviously only a yellow card infraction. That being said, I still felt a twinge of worry given how PRO referees tend to treat Orlando City. The card means that Jansson will miss the next match against Nashville. That means it will be four matches in a row that Orlando City will not have a first-choice player due to either a red card or yellow card accumulation.
The Return of Mendez
Many, including myself, have felt that the biggest missing piece of the Orlando City defense has been Sebas Méndez. The Ecuadorian made his presence known in this match, and was one of the factors that helped the Lions stay in the match until the end. Officially, Méndez only had three tackles and one interception, but I know I saw several times where his positioning turned back the Revolution’s attack up the middle. Mendez was able to go 70 minutes in his first match since July, coming off for Silvester van der Water as the Lions chased the tying goal.
Another Missed Penalty
Nani continued his penalty kick woes against Matt Turner. Nani put the ball right up the middle, and didn’t even do too much stutter-stepping, but Turner was able to make the save. To be fair, Turner was going to his right, stopped, and was able to get a shoulder on Nani’s shot. This should have been the equalizer for Orlando City, but despite his lack of success against Turner, Nani never hesitated to grab the ball to take the shot. Nani, Mauricio Pereyra, and Tesho Akindele have all missed penalties this season and Oscar Pareja took responsibility after the match for selecting his penalty shooters, but no one has gotten it done in 2021 for the Lions since Nani converted on July 17 against Toronto.
That is what I saw in the match, but let me know your thoughts in the comments below.