Orlando City has not had the best month, losing three games in a row for the first time in league history. This is the worst we have seen the Lions play since the beginning of the season when the new MLS expansion team was still looking for their form, but fear not because this Saturday’s home game should be the perfect opportunity for Orlando to bounce back.
The three games Orlando has played against Columbus Crew this season are a great representation of the progression the team has made. The first game was a loss, 3-0 away with the second game finishing in a 2-2 draw at home. The last time these teams met saw the Lions come away with a 2-0 win in Ohio.
The first two losses of this recent losing streak were tough to watch, Orlando has been struggling in midfield without Brek Shea and the Lions had the unfortunate luck to play New York City FC at home with their newest addition Andrea Pirlo for the third loss. That being said, there’s three things Orlando needs to do in the Citrus Bowl this Saturday to snap the streak.
1. Cyle Larin
The young Canadian is on a hot-streak. He earned his first hat trick last week in New York despite Orlando ultimately falling to NYCFC and his goal-scoring ways don’t seem to be coming to a halt anytime soon. The midfield should be focusing on sending him balls through to the top and let him do the rest.
2. Defense and midfield playing coherently
That might not make a lot of sense but let me explain. In the beginning of the season the defense was playing -not great but well enough-, with the majority of goals only being allowed in stoppage time. They started playing as a more cohesive unit when Orlando started winning but the absence of Shea is beginning to have a much larger impact than many people thought.
Adrian Heath switched to a 3-4-3 last week in New York and we all like to put the blame on the formation but unfortunately until Shea’s health improves I think this is the formation we are going to continue to see. The midfield and defense might be able to better adjust to this if Heath sticks to this formation this weekend and better defend Columbus’ offense that knows how to score against Orlando.
3. Goals, goals goals
I know I sound like a broken record but if Orlando wants to finish this season strong and get back into playoff contention they need to erase the goal deficit and score some goals at home. To paraphrase everyone’s favorite crazy NFL coach, Al Davis, “Just win, baby!”