Orlando City on Saturday lost its 10th consecutive road match, falling 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City, despite two golden opportunities. Here are three takeaways from the match:
Orlando City needs a second option
Striker Dom Dwyer is a great player. He has a team-high 12 goals for Orlando and when he scores, Orlando City tends to win. The Lions are 6-3-2 when Dwyer scores a goal and 1-14-1 when he doesn’t score – either because he’s out with an injury or because he just can’t find the back of the net.
Orlando City’s next best goal scorer is Sacha Kljestan, who has five goals to go with six assists. After that is Cristian Higuita, who has four goals, then three players have three goals each for the Lions. One of those players is rookie winger Chris Mueller. Another is right back Scott Sutter.
Attacking options like Josué Colman and Stéfano Pinho haven’t delivered on the promise of early performances. The Justin Meram experiment clearly failed. Players like Jose Villarreal and Pierre Da Silva haven’t gotten enough minutes to really make a difference this season.
Things are great when Dwyer is capable of scoring, but against Sporting KC, no one else stepped up. Dwyer didn’t take advantage of two one-on-one chances – SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia deserves praise here – and there weren’t many chances for Orlando City outside of that.
The Lions don’t need another person to score 12 goals, but there isn’t another consistent threat to take pressure off Dwyer.
“For us, I think it’s important that we do have competition at that forward area, for sure,” Orlando City coach James O’Connor said.
“We need to be more clinical, but you can’t be relying on one person to score goals. We have got other people that are capable of scoring goals. Dom’s obviously a very important player for us, too.”
Despite a massive roster overhaul that included the addition of three centerbacks, Orlando City is relying on two players acquired during the secondary transfer window to anchor the back line. Carlos Ascues got his third start of the season and Shane O’Neill got his seventh.
Ascues pretty much showed up in Orlando from Peru and was immediately thrust into the starting XI. He was announced on Aug. 16 and played in Orlando City’s next match, an Aug. 24 tilt against rival Atlanta United.
O’Neill played in the second match he was eligible for – Orlando City’s 3-2 loss to the Columbus Crew on July 21 — and has been a consistent starter since then.
And what’s going on with the centerbacks that were added during the offseason?
Lamine Sané was in the 18 for the first time since June 30, but apparently wasn’t ready to start after battling to recover from a quad injury. Chris Schuler is dealing with a groin injury. Amro Tarek is away for international duty.
Orlando City (still) misses Yotún
This was a point earlier in the season while Yoshimar Yotún was gone with Peru’s men’s national team for the World Cup.
Orlando City just isn’t as good a side without Yotún. He hasn’t scored a goal since crushing a rebound against Real Salt Lake on May 6, but his presence in the attack, the accuracy with which he delivers long balls and his ability to not turn the ball over the in middle of the pitch is invaluable for the Lions.
Yotún has three goals and 10 assists in 17 appearances (all starts) for Orlando City.