It was a tough night for Orlando City as they come off of a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps and a crucial blow for their playoff hopes. The match marked the return of former Orlando favorite Breck Shea as wells team captain Kaka’s return to the pitch after his one game red card suspension.
But this loss, was a tough one. Lions head coach Jason Kreis was almost speechless.
“For whatever reason it seems that it’s bad luck after bad luck after bad luck.” Kreis said “To go through a game tonight where we gave them both goals and then weren’t able to finish one of the plethora of chances we had is difficult. Really, really mentally and emotionally difficult time for us.”
However, the Coach had nothing but praise for his squad.
“The effort the guys are putting forward in the last five or six games now is second to none. The belief that they have, the willingness that they have to work to the bitter end is fantastic and I can’t be more thankful for that.”
As for the match itself, most of the damage for Orlando was self inflicted.
Vancouver opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Nicolas Mezquida’s free kick delivery bounced off Tommy Redding and in. Bad luck.
Later in the match, a couple of errant passes left former Orlando favorite Black Shea one on one against Orlando Goalie Joe Bendik. Shea had no problem hitting pay dirt, taking the Whitecaps up 2-0 in the 53rd minute.
Orlando had a ton of chances in the box. Vancouver kept their team in a defensive stance for most of the match by flooding their players on the defensive end. Orlando remained frustrated and found it difficult to find space to operate and get clean shots.
Orlando took an astonishing 25 total shots but only 4 were on target. The Lions had almost 75% of possession in the match. Vancouver goalie Stefan Marinovic earned his keep by fending off several of Orlando’s attacks with 7 blocked shots.
Orlando spent a lot of time in the box however, with several scrums with the ball bouncing around, off of players caught off guars and ending in shots that would drift high or wide.
in the 32nd minute, Kaká swung a delivery into the box for Barnes but it went out for another corner. Kaká played City’s fourth corner to the top of the box for Rivas, who took a shot and unleashed pandemonium. Vancouver appeared to play a handball on Redding’s shot from inside the box. Bodies flew as the ball bounced, Dwyer spun and Marinovic covered.
Kries was trying an adjustment in the line up by injecting the speedy Carlos Rivas in the starting line up and using Lions star striker Cyle Larin as a substitute. The young Rivas had difficulty in the first half with errant passes and shots. Many times Kaka and Dwyer passed the ball into for box for shots with no one to deliver the scoring blow. This area is Larin’s hunting ground, and Kreis inserted him in for Rivas to start the second half.
The move payed off in the 62nd minute as Yoshimar Yotún’s cross in the box was perfect for Larin to head in for a goal, giving Orlando hope with a 2-1 score.
Urged on by the supporters, the Lions pushed for the equalizer. Larin almost had his second in the 78th minute following a mad scramble in the box – the second of the night for City – but it went out for a corner. Barnes cracked a shot off the bar in 86th minute.
City begins a four-game road trip on Saturday, Sept. 2, at the New England Revolution. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET. The Lions then visit D.C. United, Atlanta and Portland before returning to Orlando City Stadium on Wednesday, Sept. 27, to host New England.