Orlando City SC And The Problem With Not Playing A Full Game

Orlando City SC vs. D.C. United - courtesy of Orlando City SC Communications

Orlando City SC vs. D.C. United – courtesy of Orlando City SC Communications

Orlando City SC seems to be developing a similar pattern, attack on offense, play physical defense and lose focus around 91 minutes. The first two aspects of the Lion’s game are positive and are likely to be rewarded with time and confidence, there are a lot of missed chances left on the field by the offense but to think that this team has been playing together for less than six months helps remind us Orlando has a long way to go.

Friday was the second time Orlando lost at home, and the second time that loss came as a result of a 90+ minute goal. Orlando’s offense plays well, and the Lions finished with 5 shots on target and played with plenty of energy however they might be facing a large setback as Pedro Riberio went down in the 19th minute with what seemed to be a hamstring injury.

Cyle Larin was aggressive after entering for Riberio but missed what seemed to be easy shots delivered by Kaká and Brek Shea then sending a couple either wide left or wide right. Larin has a lot of work to do going forward if he is to take Riberio’s place while he recovers, but more practice with the first team should help create a bond up front.

Shea still seems to be adjusting to left-back but has shown how effective he can be with great pass accuracy and consistent energy throughout the game. Shea and Kaká are building something between them and are both excellent weapons in the midfield but neither can be counted on for consistent goals, that needs to come from Riberio or for now Larin. Unless Heath wants to move Kaká up front, which I don’t believe either man wants, some reconfiguration might be in order.

D.C. United was able to go up 1-0 in the 91st minute in an eerily similar fashion to the Vancouver Whitecaps just a few weeks ago. Orlando’s backline plays consistently throughout the game but seems to lose focus in the closing moments, more concerned with scoring the go-ahead winning goal in the final seconds instead of preventing other teams from doing just that.

Despite another home loss, Orlando seems close to cementing their chemistry on the pitch and while watching you are left to think they would have scored a lot of goals against United if Bill Hamid, one of the best keepers in MLS, had not been playing. The Lion’s have been consistent in their statistics, keeping possession for the majority of their games throughout the short season so far and having multiple shots on goal. Unfortunately for Orlando games do not end at 90 minutes, they have to learn to keep their defense going during stoppage time as well.

Caitlin O'Connell

A Senior Writer and Orlando City Correspondent for 90 Minutes Strong, Caitlin has years of experience as a soccer journalist. She was the Managing Editor at World Soccer Talk and was the Events Assistant at the Boca Raton Bowl.

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