- Matthew Laboissonniere
New York Red Bulls Match Review
It goes without saying that this performance on Sunday was the worst performance by the Lions all season so far. The New York Red Bulls came down to Florida, kicked the shit out of us, and then went back home. They scored three goals and jumped right over us in the standings to knock us down to third in the Eastern Conference. No players shined individually, and nobody clicked together as a unit.
The Lions looked second to everything from the start. We were embarrassing going forward, with only three shots in the whole match and none going on frame. The Red Bulls pressed Orlando very well and kept them in their own half for the most part, with New York capitalizing on lazy, off-the-pace passes, which is how they scored their first goal.
As I mentioned in the preview article, you may expect Orlando to be the better passing and possession team, which definitely was the case when you look at the stats. However, when you look at the scoreline, that tells the whole story. New York also dominated in the shots department, cruising with 9 shots and 3 on goal. Gallese was not the problem in this match because he still made some big saves and this could have gotten way uglier without him in my opinion. And yeah, Schlegel got screwed on that penalty call. What is he supposed to do with his arm there? It seemed like he knew nothing about it and it just felt like pouring salt into the wound. Additionally, the lack of depth is also concerning. No substitutions had you jumping out of your seat to see them get on the pitch.
It’s clear mistakes were made and players did not wake up in time for this match. There’s no need to set off any alarms. On the bright side, it can’t get much worse than that… right?
Goal - 26’ - Luquinhas
Yellow Card - 33’ - Fletcher
Yellow Card - 41’ - Luquinhas
Yellow Card - 42’ - Morgan
Yellow Card - 45’ + 3’ - Urso
Goal - 48’ - Casseres
Yellow Card - 83’ - Coronel
Goal - 88’ - Morgan
1. Nevermind, I was right about Kara!
This was such a pathetic performance from him. Creating chances and scoring goals is what the big Austrian is for and he did not look the part on Sunday. It must have been his day off or something. Things weren’t going anybody’s way, and I don’t mean to make Kara the scapegoat, but he’s the squeaky wheel in my eyes. When things aren’t going well, at least do the simple things right! He couldn’t even do that - only completing 64.3% of his passes, none of them being key passes. And to top it off, I know it was offside, but are we kidding with that shot right at the goalie? He had all day to pick a spot and chose the keeper’s chest. Lots to think about moving forward with him at the top.
2. Dealing with the Red Bulls Press
The press from the Red Bulls was worth noting coming into the match, but god damn, I didn't think it would impact the Lions this hard. I thought the midfielders would be able to break it down and cause quick attacks but that was the opposite of the truth. Orlando has had difficulty dealing with hard pressing and physical teams so far this year, which is a situation that needs addressing. As hard as I am on them, they're still in third place, with difficult matchups against physical opponents ahead. This now marks three straight matches with losses to the Red Bulls.
3. Getting Run Over at Home
What a weird coincidence. In soccer, home field is such a key advantage. Knowing the pitch, having the fans behind you, it all plays into your performance. There must be something in the water in Orlando because the Lions are unbeaten on the road so far and look like a shell of themselves at Exploria Stadium. Give credit to New York, who is fantastic on the road as well, but I did not expect Orlando to cower the way they did on Sunday. Protecting home field is up close to the top of the list of priorities going forward.
It can never be this bad again for Orlando this year. The offense will perform better, the midfield will control the game, and the defense will clear away any attacking threat, just like the way it used to be. I’m not overly concerned as long as things are fixed fast. I never want to see a performance like that again.
Orlando stays at home to welcome Charlotte FC to Exploria Stadium on Saturday, April 30th at 7:30 PM EST.