Two by two, Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath led the Lions into the Citrus Bowl Saturday night.
Well not really, but it surely seemed like it with a deluge of Biblical proportions coming down as Orlando City hosted the Chicago Fire for a critical game down the home stretch. Earlier in the day, both NYCFC and Montreal lost games giving the Men In Purple a golden opportunity to put a bit of daylight between them and their mid-table peers.
Though the team came out sharply and played with a clarity often lacking in this recent tough run of games, they were ultimately only able to battle the Fire to a 1-1 draw. The good news: they are above the red line for the time being.
During practice this week, the team had a players-only meeting and aired out concerns and thoughts about what it is going to take to snap the funk they’ve been in since July and Kaka was quoted in the media as taking more of the responsibility on himself going forward. This commitment showed in the game with the captain showing the kind of fire that is usually only on display roaming the sideline in the form of Adrian Heath.
While Orlando City won’t turn their noses up at a point, thoughts afterward were with the opportunities lost.
“Obviously I am bitterly disappointed that we couldn’t finish on some of the quality chances we created this evening,” said Heath. “A lot of the things we asked the players before the game to show commitment to, like a desire to win the game, I thought they showed it well. It was a really good game.”
“They are always very dangerous on the break because their front four are very dynamic and athletic. So you always are susceptible to getting done on the counter attack. I thought we managed them quite well. To not be able to finish on those chances we had in the second half is a bit disappointing. In light of everything else that has gone on this evening, it could have been a huge 3 points for us. We will take the point and go again next week.”
Speaking of next week, Orlando City travel to Boston to take on the New England Revolution. To say that they’ll be undermanned would be an understatement. Kaka, Ceren and Larin are with their national teams and Rivas was carded again which gives him an automatic one game suspension.
Adrian Winter and Raphael Ramos will be back from suspension, so the game should be competitive, provided City can keep all 11 men on the field.