Orlando City headed into the Great White North to take on the Montreal Impact, and once again walked away with nothing after a late goal from the opposition. This one hurts, as the amount of opportunities to get points is starting to dwindle as the season winds down. Here are our five takeaways from the match against Montreal.
The Attacking Third
Given the amount of time that Dom Dwyer has been with the team, especially given the MLS All-Star break, it is to be expected that he and Cyle Larin wouldn’t have had enough time to get acclimated to one another or with the players feeding them the ball. However, Cyle made the most of his early opportunity to put the Lions up 1-0. It was a goal he had to work for, taking the long ball, shedding a defender and tapping it in. We saw times when both players were occupying the same space, and others where they shared the area better. It’s simply going to take some time.
Despite communication miscues with Larin, Dom did what Dom does. He hustled. Not just in the final third, but everywhere. He made defensive stops, put himself in position to score (even if Larin was already in the same spot), and played the ball out of the midfield. This was all with very limited time with the team, and not even playing the full 90 minutes. The scoring hasn’t come as soon as we would like, but it will.
Stop Parking the Bus, Pass the ball Forward!
Though we have yet to see what Yoshi Yotún can do for Orlando City, if it involves passing the ball forward rather than back, it will be a big help. Too many passes are sent square, and then back when not necessarily needed. When a team is already down on possession, pushing forward is absolutely necessary. This was never more evident than after Larin’s goal. Despite there being well over a half to play, Orlando seemed content to absorb attacks rather than getting a second goal. That resulted in a bevy of Montreal shots, and ultimately the penalty kick and goal. If a team is going to get three points on the road, you can’t be content to park the bus when only up by one goal.
Late Goals Killing Orlando City
Once again, late goals are bleeding Orlando City of potential points. Some may think this is a symptom of the Lions getting tired, or bad luck, or PRO being PRO. However, if Orlando would stop being content with one goal, then the team will be more able to absorb late goals. It has unfortunately become a problem in the second half of the season that Orlando is not getting the points in games (especially late) that it will need to get above the playoff line. I don’t know if its personnel, a better attitude, or sacrificing a bucket of KFC, but something needs to change.
More Road Games to Come
Orlando City plays six of its next 11 games on the road, and against teams higher up the standings than Montreal. This was a match against a team that Orlando should have been able to beat on the road. New York Red Bulls are up next week in New Jersey, and it won’t get any easier to get the needed points. The other road games include the New England Revolution, D.C. United, Atlanta United FC, the Portland Timbers, and the Philadelphia Union. How many of those would you expect to garner points against? It’s a tough road ahead.
That’s what we saw, but please let us know if you agree, disagree, saw something else, or have a bucket of chicken to sacrifice.