Orlando City lost to Atlanta United 2-1 Friday night, making it 14 losses in the team’s last 16 games. The Lions are now in last place in the East and second to last in the league.
Here are my five takeaways from another tough loss.
Orlando City Still Won’t Close Anyone Down
Orlando City’s defensive woes are obvious and have been well documented, something that showed up again against Atlanta. A major problem for the Lions’ defense has been closing down the opposition at the top of the box. This was a frequent occurrence again, allowing Atlanta to take shots from 20 to 25 yards out. That’s even more troublesome when Joe Bendik spills everything fired at him.
Bendik Still Struggling in Goal
Goalkeeping has been a problem for Orlando City all year. Joe Bendik started the season in goal but was eventually replaced by Earl Edwards, Jr. Now Bendik is back in goal but is still a liability. Against Atlanta, Bendik spilled several balls he should’ve easily gathered, with one resulting in the opening goal. Even when he punched the ball out, it was to the top of the box rather than outside as it should be, allowing more opportunities for the opposition.
Nobody At the Top of the 18
Considering the number of times Orlando City has been punished by the trailing run at the top of the 18-yard box, you’d think somebody would find it a good idea to do the same. Yet, as balls enter the box, nobody in purple makes that run. Against Atlanta, the Lions could’ve had at least one attempt on goal as a Dom Dwyer cross was poorly cleared to the top of the box. But the lack of any attackers allowed the visitors to clear.
No Movement, No Support
Orlando City players have a tendency of getting trapped by the opposition with the ball. This is large part due to the lack of movement and support from teammates. Most stand around waiting for the ball to come to them rather than creating options. This was a problem yet again against Atlanta and was at fault for several turnovers. It’s not a surprising occurrence, but notable nonetheless.
Ascues’ Strong Performance
Ending this list with a positive, Orlando City fans witnessed a strong performance out of the club’s newest addition. Peruvian Carlos Ascues started alongside Uri Rosell at defensive midfield and played quite well. Labeled by many as a central defender, he was arguably the Lions’ best player and seems to be a good fit in the defensive midfield moving forward. It’s only one game, but signs look good on this 26-year-old South American.
These are some things that stood out to me. Let us know what stood out to you in the comments below.