Orlando City dropped its third home match of the season on Sunday in a matinee game against the New York Red Bulls. Unlike the home losses to Cincinnati and LAFC, in which the Lions generally played quite well but just didn’t finish around the net, Sunday’s match was a poor overall performance and a deserved 3-0 loss.
City just never seemed to have its typical spark. New York occasionally pressed high but where the Lions had the most trouble was simply avoiding the visitors’ traps. Slow ball movement, poor passing, and bad decisions kept Orlando on the back foot all game long. The team was far too passive and walked repeatedly into the areas where the Red Bulls wanted them to go. The visitors then had no trouble springing their traps, dispossessing Orlando’s attacking players, and launching transition attack opportunities.
An opening goal might have changed the entire complexion of the game for Orlando, but it was New York that struck first, taking advantage of a turnover and lazy defending that allowed Luquinhas far too much room at the top of the area. A well-placed shot inside the left post put the visitors ahead and made Orlando’s job that much more difficult.
The Red Bulls were never uncomfortable in the match, but with the Lions having to chase the game, it relieved the visitors of any pressure and they played loosely and confidently. Meanwhile, Alexandre Pato and Facundo Torres tried in vain to dribble through the defense, Mauricio Pereyra, Junior Urso, and others struggled to pick out attacking players on the move, and Orlando lacked the ability to stretch New York’s defense either vertically or horizontally. Whether through confusion or just a lack of ideas, the players were too slow and deliberate and that played right into the Red Bulls’ hands.
Changes at the half gave the Lions a little more control in the middle of the pitch but did nothing to the team’s creative flow. Benji Michel couldn’t stretch New York’s defense any more than Pato or Torres had. Orlando City managed just three shot attempts in the match and none worried goalkeeper Carlos Coronel.
Ultimately, the result was as disappointing as the performance. Hopefully, it will prove to be an aberration at the end of a long season, as it lacked the positives that were evident in the team’s previous two losses.
Still, a day at the stadium is better than a day at home on the couch. We hope you enjoy these images from a game we’d all rather forget.
Images: Dan MacDonald
Words: Michael Citro