For Orlando City, Thursday night’s 2-0 loss to New York City FC was so close yet so far.
As the Lions enter the second half of the season, back-to-back losses against Eastern Conference teams continue to plague Orlando’s chances of making the playoffs, especially under new head coach James O’Connor.
The Lions finished the game with 21 shots with 17 of them coming in the second half. They hit the woodwork four times. In the end, no goals were scored.
For O’Connor and his men, Thursday was a frustrating night and the team played desperately for a win.
“This is really frustrating for myself, for the staff, for the players. We’re not just saying it. We want to win,” said O’Connor. “So when you don’t win, it’s really frustrating. That’s probably the biggest thing. I look at the supporters when we’re two-nil down, and the passion they’re showing, the support, the noise in the stadium, it’s absolutely incredible.”
“When you actually look at that midway through the second half, the supporters are absolutely on their feet, chanting, roaring, really supporting the team. It gets to the point where there’s a desperation to want to do well for those supporters. I ask them just to stick with us. As a club we’re going through a difficult time. But I can promise you things will get better.”
The Lions have one win in their last 12 games in league play — that one victory under the O’Connor era snapped the team’s club record nine-game losing streak.
But it’s the little mistakes defensively and not being clinical in the final third that have proven to be costly for Orlando not only in Thursday’s game — but all season — said Will Johnson.
“You look at the game as a tale of two halves,” said Johnson. “There’s opportunities to score goals to in both halves and there’s opportunities to prevent goals from happening. We didn’t do enough on either end of the spectrum so you come away frustrated.”
“Not really an effort thing again, it’s more of a thinking component to the game,” he added. “It’s more being a little smarter in the areas, putting out fires, kind of what they did well. They bend, we get them on the ropes but we can’t deliver that final punch. It’s just where we’re at right now, and working towards being a little more like them, a little more clinical.”
The Lions face a short turnaround as they prepare for Sunday action on the road against the LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center at 9:30 p.m. ET.
For Peruvian international Yoshimar Yotun, who hit the crossbar and post during Thursday’s game, the focus shifts to the weekend against the Galaxy.
“To get over this loss we have another match this weekend. Soccer gives you revenge and we have an upcoming revenge this weekend against LA [Galaxy] so now we have to work hard, recover and be ready,” said Yotun.
“The last three matches we played well. We defeated Toronto FC, we had a good game in Columbus and [Thursday] wasn’t our night. We committed some errors and they hurt us. We had our chances, we couldn’t convert them and now it’s just moving forward to Los Angeles.”
(Photos by Maddie Schroeder)
For more up-to-date stories, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @OSJSoccer