Now Is Not The Time For Panic With Orlando City



Two days have passed since Orlando City’s 2-0 loss to the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo. The Impact broke the Lions’ five-game MLS unbeaten streak and stayed unbeaten against Orlando this season, previously drawing against OCSC 2-2 on March 28.

Overall, Montreal looked better than Orlando throughout the game. Sure, the Lions led in possession 51.9 percent to 48.1 percent, but Montreal had more energy and team cohesion. The Impact also had more duels won (46 to 34), tackles won (20 to 17) and total shots (18 to 12). Orlando City only had one fewer shot than in its June 14 win over D.C. United, another game in which the team looked disorganized at points.

The month of June has tested the blood pressure of Orlando City fans. The team defeated the Chicago Fire in a comeback win and held off DC in a victory that was more of a sigh of a relief for patrons at the Citrus Bowl than a joyous win. The loss to Montreal seemed to be a culmination of a team declining in play, mixed with issues of a consistently changing lineup due to players away on international duty.

Regardless of the results, the last three games haven’t been encouraging for Orlando City fans. A group looking for their team to turn the corner in their expansion season is still waiting after weeks of starts and pauses. Saturday’s loss looked bad for Orlando City, so much so that some fans may look at breaking the glass case that encapsulates the panic button.

However, now is not the time.

Yes, Orlando City will have to improve upon some things going forward if they want to remain playoff eligible. The team will have to get back to playing more consistent defense, with guys staying in position and not allowing opponents to get deep into the formations. Brek Shea, who has done well in clearing balls for the Lions, looked like he was readjusting to playing with OCSC Saturday. Shea was out of position on plays and was partly responsible for allowing Donny Toia to score a goal in the 36th minute.

The offense will have to be more aggressive and take more shots. Kaká will also have to get more involved, after looking sluggish and removed the past two games. Cyle Larin, like Shea, will have to adjust to MLS play again. The Rookie of the Year frontrunner, who has at least one shot on goal in seven of the the 12 games he’s played in this season, had none against Montreal.

If there is any time for Orlando City to turn things around, it’s in the next two games. The Lions play Colorado Wednesday. The Rapids are last in the Western Conference. Orlando City heads on the road July 4 to play Real Salt Lake, which sit ninth in the West. Next month, the Lions will also play both New York teams, which have looked shaky at times through the year.

While Orlando City didn’t play to their potential Saturday night, now is not the time for fans to panic. There’s still time to rectify the problems that have plagued the guys in purple and look much better than the team that stepped on the field in Montreal.


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