Orlando City seeks to improve final-third chances

CITRUS BOWL — For the second time this season, Orlando City had its opponent against the wall, but not pinned down.

The Lions statistically were the better team during Friday’s 1-1 draw at the Citrus Bowl against the Chicago Fire, but the result above said otherwise.

“Our final pass…our final decision in the final third wasn’t good enough, and that’s disappointing,” Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath said. “I thought in the box, I thought our quality wasn’t good enough. Some of the decisions were alright, but the quality and execution on the ball wasn’t good enough.”

Orlando enjoyed much of the game with a player advantage after Michael Harrington’s red card had the Fire losing a man in the 31st minute. And despite having that advantage, the Lions were left with a point to share after the final whistle.

Still, the chances kept coming, but they were not falling into place.

A series of shots fell in Orlando’s favor in the latter part of the game, including Pedro Ribeiro’s 25-yard shot from the goal that hit the right post. Kevin Molino’s feed to Cyle Larin moments later also found the post. Even Hadji Barry got into the action in the next play.

Overall, the Lions (0-0-2, 2 points) managed to outshoot the Fire 13-7, and dominate possession with 65 percent.

“As I said to my players, I can’t fault them for their effort,” Heath added. “They keep going… Disappointed, but we haven’t lost. We’ll regroup, we’ll be better — we have to be better.”

The Lions have started the first two games of the season at home, and have only earned two of the available six points. But with only two games played, optimism is still there, as the team heads into Yankee Stadium on Friday to play New York City FC.

Orlando City captain Ricardo Kaká (thigh strain) is still unlikely to play the New York City game, according to Heath. Additionally, Carlos Rivas is still in the process to being match fit.

But going back to last Friday night, it was a game of many failed chances, defender Rafael Ramos said.

“We had more chances than they had tonight,” Ramos added. “We tried everything that we got. I think the team gave everything that we had on the field. We were just a bit unlucky. [Chicago] had one chance, and they [scored]. We had five or six chances, and we made just one goal. That’s football. If you don’t score, you get scored on.”

Follow Mike Gramajo on Twitter (@byMikeGramajo). For more, also follow the OSJ on Twitter (@OSJSoccer).

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