Orlando City hosted FC Dallas and fell 3-1 after blowing a lead in the second half. Ercan Kara gave the Lions a lead late in the first half, but mistakes and fatigue plagued the Lions after halftime. Paul Arriola scored a brace and Franco Jara made a difference in the match as he had an assist and a goal within just seven minutes after coming on off the bench. Here are our five takeaways from the match.
Hodgepodge Defense Leaked Goals
Due to an injury to Antonio Carlos and suspension to Rodrigo Schlegel, Kyle Smith filled in as a center back alongside Robin Jansson and had a hard time playing out of position. He tried trapping Jara offside and paid the price as Jara stayed on and chipped a shot over Gallese to give Dallas the lead in the 70th minute. Minutes earlier, Ruan wasn’t able to intercept a cross from Jara that allowed Arriola to drive towards goal uncontested and score. That opportunity was sparked by a poor giveaway from Andres Perea. A rare mistake from Pedro Gallese was the nail in the coffin for the Lions as Arriola completed his brace with a shot that skipped to the far post. All in all, it was just a sloppy defensive performance from the Lions. They have now conceded nine goals across their past four matches. All nine of those goals were scored with one of either Jansson or Schlegel off the field. The Lions lacked defensive stability in this match, which wasn’t helped by the absence of Cesar Araujo, and will have to find ways to get results when their depth is tested.
Orlando Scored and Struggled from Set Pieces
Orlando City’s lone goal of the match came from a free kick as Mauricio Pereyra whipped in a nice cross to find Kara’s head in the box. It was one of many opportunities from dead ball situations for the Lions as they had six corners and were fouled 24 times in the match, many of those fouls taking place in dangerous areas. Orlando is the most fouled team in MLS so it’s important for the team to make the most of the chances allowed by fouls from the opposition. While the goal was nice, the Lions needed to be more clinical with their chances considering the service was fairly good throughout the night. Kara’s miss at point-blank range after an excellent corner kick towards the far post by Alexandre Pato was just one of many moments where Orlando lacked a finishing touch in the box.
Tired Legs Caught Up to the Lions
It was Orlando’s third game in seven days and it showed in this match. The Lions conceded twice within a span of three minutes in the second half and fresh legs in the form of substitutes minutes later weren’t enough to stop the bleeding. Orlando was the protagonist of the match for most of the first hour but didn’t have enough left in the tank to reverse its fortune after Dallas flipped the script with a goal in transition. The Lions entered this match after playing 120 minutes and enduring a penalty shootout on Wednesday and the fatigue from that and a road trip to Austin last Sunday likely played a part in how the team faded down the stretch of this match. The good news is that Orlando has over two weeks of rest to recover before facing the New England Revolution on June 15.
Kara is Heating Up
Make no mistake, Kara absolutely needed to put the ball from Pato’s corner kick in the back of the net. The service was fantastic and it would’ve brought the team level to possibly shift momentum. He was brought to Orlando as a Designated Player and those are the types of chances he must score as a center forward in this league. All of that being said, it was an otherwise solid game from the Austrian. as he scored his fourth goal of the MLS season. His six shots were his most in a match since joining Orlando and he was a constant presence in this match as he used his large frame to win possession and hold up play. It feels as if he’s on the brink of a breakout game and could have had it in this match. He’ll want that missed header back, but there were plenty of encouraging signs surrounding Kara. After a slow start to the year as he acclimates to the league and his teammates, Kara looked comfortable in this match and has scored in three of Orlando’s past five matches across all competitions.
Waiting on the Wings
Once again, Junior Urso played out wide as the team is dealing with injuries to Benji Michel and Silvester van der Water. Jake Mulraney received his first start as a Lion, playing on the left wing. Both players had decent games, but Urso didn’t attempt a cross in the match and Mulraney was accurate on just one of his four. It’s worth noting that I liked Mulraney’s performance in this match. He won five fouls, made some heads-up plays, and should be a solid player for Orlando when needed this season. Facundo Torres came on for the Irishman in the 56th minute but wasn’t able to make much of an impact crossing from the left wing either, completing one of his two attempts. As for the fullbacks, Ruan was inaccurate on both of his crosses and Joao Moutinho only attempted one as well, although both certainly looked dangerous at times. Most of Orlando’s chances either came from Pereyra working his magic or set pieces. Some of it could be blamed on fatigue and injuries, but the fact remains that Orlando lacked production from its wings in this loss and recent matches.
That is what I took away from Orlando’s loss to Dallas at home. Let me know what you thought of the match in the comments below.