Tag Archive for Orlando City SC

RSL looking for a holiday spark vs Orlando

This season has been a hot mess of expectations, anticipation and disappointment, leaving entering the 2nd half of the season with some embarrassing numbers. 17 points from 18 matches, worst in MLS and -20 goal differential, also worst in MLS are the two that are most telling.  Now fans will have very different places they put the blame, but the harsh reality is that beyond the coaching change, beyond injuries, beyond players coming and going and national team callups, something changed in the middle of last season.  RSL went from a team that appeared to have it all going their way just before labor day, to a group who simply looked like they stopped caring and for the most part that has been the theme of this season.

Now before you jump all over me, I know that the players and staff care, I know they are passionate about the game, I know they hate losing more than the fans do, I know all of that. I also know what it looks like both live and on TV, we get glimpses that give us hope like a good performance vs Minnesota (a not so good team) and then we get duds like the match against San Jose (also a not so good team).  I am not sure what changes are needed, I will leave that up to the folks running the team, but I know what I see on the pitch and in the standings and neither of them are close to what the level of expectations has been for Real Salt Lake.

Enter our only national TV appearance of the year, a pre-holiday weekend kick off match against a team with several familiar faces. It will be hard to see Jason coaching Orlando, he was such a huge part of RSL becoming a success (yes that is his name and number on the building, and yes it belongs there). It is always hard to see a guy with so much passion and who plays with the intensity that Will Johnson does in anything but Claret and Cobalt. Then there are the ones with so much potential still Luis Gil and Donny Toia, guys for whom leaving RSL may have been the best thing for them.

Neither side is happy with where they are right now, Orlando got off to a 6-1-0 start to their season, but in their last 10 they have just a single win. RSL is close to setting a record for most losses in a season at Rio Tinto or since moving to Rio Tinto with 11 losses so far and 3 home losses.  So which team can find a spark to get their season on track?

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RSL suffer late gut punch at Orlando 2-2

When RSL gave up a late goal on Wednesday night in Champions League play, it was because they were pushing everything forward looking for a second goal to stay alive in their series and it felt great at the end. Effort, heart, passion, desire all were shown in spades on Wednesday night, so what would happen on Sunday?

Well early on Orlando gets a goal called back on an offside call (iffy at best), and you know the saying that “the ball don’t lie” well we would find out much later how true that is.  First it would be two early yellow cards to Demar Phillips (not sure why he was starting vs Chris Wingert in the first place) that would send RSL down a man with 70 minutes to go.  It was just a few minutes later that Chris Penso points to the PK spot and this time Joao Plata steps up and coverts it to give RSL a 1-0 lead in the 26th minute. As often has been the case RSL played better with 10 men than they were with 11 men, but before the half would end things would level.  Not the score but a straight red card to Darwin Ceren would mean both sides would play the second half with 10 men.

In the second half RSL would continue to create some chances and in the 66th minute one pretty goal would give them a 2-0 lead as Joao Plata would get his second of the day on a great play started by Burrito that lead to a sublime cross by Tony Beltran that Plata put into the back of the net.  RSL would force Orlando to chase them for the remainder of the match, but in stoppage time things simply would go all wrong in a hurry.

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The 2016 MLS season is here, what to expect

Today is the day, the 21st season of MLS action gets under way, in many ways 2016 is the calm after one storm and before an even bigger one, 2015 saw two new team jump into the fray of MLS (NYCFC and Orlando City SC) both came with some big names, Kaka, Frank Lampard (well eventually), David Villa, Mix Diskerud (is he still a big name?) and both struggled on the pitch to compete as neither made the playoffs in a rather weak Eastern Conference. It was also the start of the new TV deal for MLS, a new CBA, and lots and lots of new sponsorships for the league.  So with no new teams this year and a year where there simply haven’t been any of those huge signings like last year, don’t forget we also saw Steve Gerrard, Jermaine Jones, Giovani dos Santos and Sebastian Giovinco join the league, but maybe those come this summer?

There are new stars but smaller names, like Ashley Cole, Lucas Ontivero, Yura Movsisyan, Carlos Gruezo and Shkelzen Gashi, we also the return of a player I really like is Simon Dawkins now a DP with San Jose and there are a lot of open DP spots around the league.  We saw some big name players change places, Dan Kennedy, Jeff Larentowicz, and Mike Magee to LA Galaxy, Marco Pappa and Jermaine Jones to Colorado, Marcelo Sarvas to DC United, Maximiliano Urruti and Mauro Rosales to FC Dallas, Christian Miadana to Houston, Harry Shipp to Montreal, Brad Davis and Justin Mapp to Sporting KC, Will Johnson and Clint Irwin to Toronto FC and Blaz Perez to Vancouver.

All of this before we see 2 new teams likely join the league in 2017 and then 2 more in 2018, so even without those huge name signings it is a big year for the league as those new sponsors will want to see some ROI and the league needs to find a way to get the TV numbers moving up in a hurry.

So as a fan what should you expect?  Will it be another year with the big clubs missing out on MLS Cup (come on none of you picked Portland vs Columbus last year, don’t lie about it)? Well it is a crap shoot to try to pick who will win what at this point of the season, MLS has too many variables to be very accurate but I do have some thoughts

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Real Salt Lake vs Orlando City SC – Match Preview

OK, I am going to make this a quick one.  RSL is coming off a tough match at home in CCL action, but if they can replicate that performance it will be another season opener in which they can get a result.  RSL hasn’t lost an opening day match since 2009 and have only lost twice on the opening weekend of action.  The biggest question on Sunday will be does RSL build off that match and stick with a similar lineup or do they make some changes to get guys who battled hard and many of whom have been sick in the last week some rest?  Listen the start of the season is going to be huge for RSL so I expect that if healthy we see a very similar lineup as we did on Wednesday night as the extra day off probably was very helpful.

It is hard for me to comment too much on Orlando as I only saw a few minutes of their preseason matches, but we can talk about what we know when it comes to them. Kaka is the motor that makes them tick, Cyle Larin proved a serious threat last year in his Rookie of the Year campaign with 17 goals, but beyond those two Orlando City fell off in a hurry.  Kaka had 9 goals and 7 assists, so over half of their offense (26 of 46 goals) came from those two players, only Bryan Rochez, who had 3 goals, was able to score more than 2 goals last year.

When the two sides faced off last season it ended in a 1-1 draw in a match that saw Kaka get a red card in the 45th minute. It was a night that saw RSL take 23 shots, and despite the man advantage for the entire second half they were unable to get a second goal to secure the win.

So what will this seasons matchup hold?

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