What Is The Deal With Orlando?

Provided by Orlando City SC Communications

Provided by Orlando City SC Communications

Orlando City SC loss to Toronto FC this past weekend thanks in part to two Jozy Altidore goals as well as another ineffective night on offense for the Lions. This is the third loss in a row at the Citrus Bowl and everyone is starting to wonder, what gives? What is the deal with Orlando?

It cannot possibly be the weather, Orlando trains in the humidity of Florida during the week and there does not seem to be any problems, at least not that are outwardly expressed.

The crowd has been a positive influence throughout the season so far, with an average of 39,328 fans Orlando boasts the highest average attendance for any expansion team during the first four games. Orlando has also showed an ability to play in a tough atmosphere, neatly winning 2-0 against Portland a few weeks ago so a lack of excitement around games is not what is wrong.

Talent is not a valid excuse, as Orlando has plenty. Granted Toronto has three of the best MLS players in the league on their roster, Sebastian Giovinco was smartly brought from Serie A to bolster a midfield that already housed one of America’s best midfield talents in Michael Bradley who has a well established chemistry with Jozy Altidore who returned from the English Premier League this season.

The Lions have a unique combination of youth and experience including the legendary Kaká, who is currently the only MLS player with the FIFA Balon d’Or trophy, which he won in 2007. Cyle Larin was the first pick in MLS’s Super Draft last season and has shown great potential up front, with some more work he could be a real goal scorer. In the back sits, Aurélien Collin, a physical and active defender who is not afraid to go for the tough tackles and has put in real work for the Lions this season.

So what is it?


A lack of chemistry might seem like a cop-out to most but it very well might be what is holding Orlando back from a greater position in the East and keeping them from securing meaningful points.

The majority of this team was assembled only a few months ago and their first games together were played during the preseason. That is a large disadvantage when you look at other teams (aside from New York City FC) who have multiple seasons behind them to build off of.

It’s easy to gather a fan base in a youthful city like Orlando who have plenty of room to grow and only one other professional team to speak of whose regular season schedule is almost opposite of a MLS season. Talent is another easy acquisition for a brand new team who were able to pick and choose their Designated Players and allot the rest of the salary cap the exact way they wanted.

So my only conclusion is that the Lions are still working on their relationships on the field, this is obvious when you watch a full game and see how many misses or small problems are amplified when someone like Brek Shea incomplete a pass or when Larin misses as easy header sent from the wings.

Preaching patience seems boring, but it is what I recommend for any suffering Lions fans especially those who are as new to MLS as Kaká. The season is long and Orlando has all of the ingredients for success except time. A dozen or so more practices and more time on the Citrus Bowl’s turf should be exactly what head coach Adrian Heath needs to complete this picture.

Patience friends, be patient in this club and it will be rewarded.

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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