Week 15 Recap: Orlando is Not the Happiest Place on Earth

By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer

It was a night to forget against Orlando City SC as the Union kicked off their road trip in Florida with a harrowing 2-0 loss. Although Jim Curtin put what seemed like the best possible starting lineup for the Union out on the field, things just couldn’t come together for three points against the Lions.

Things were going wrong before the game even started, as severe weather pushed back the time of kickoff. Once the game actually started, however, they didn’t really get any better for the visiting team.

Kacper Przybylko and Sergio Santos immediately found difficulty in breaking through Orlando’s defense, not able to record a decent shot in front of the net in the opening minutes. In fact, just maintaining possession proved to be a challenge for the Union, as several misplaced passes led to several dangerous chances for the home side.

In the tenth minute of play, Orlando’s Mauricio Pereyra caught the Union’s defense sleeping, threading a pass to teammate Benji Michel to put the home side ahead 1-0.

The rest of the first half remained in Orlando’s favor, shutting down any counterattack the Union could conjure up, although their midfield often made it difficult for the Boys In Blue to get far into the Lions’ half in the first place.

The second half looked more promising for the Union’s offense, as Daniel Gazdag found space for two attempts on goal within minutes of each other.

Despite a more lively press from the forwards, Orlando managed to get another goal past Matt Freese to make the game 2-0.

Things eventually clicked for the Union, as Przybylko was able to pull a goal back in the 68th minute, thanks to a perfect first touch from Olivier Mbaizo’s cross. The celebrations didn’t last long, as the Union immediately went in pursuit of another goal to try and salvage a point.

Curtin subbed on 17-year-old Quinn Sullivan, who had an immediate impact on the Union’s offense presence in the game. He nearly had a goal off of his first touches of the game, and had a subsequent pair of chances squandered away by Orlando’s defense.

The last minutes of the game were incredibly suspenseful on both sides, as Orlando had to deflect three rapid-fire chances from the Union to protect their three points. Despite coming so frustratingly close to an equalizer, the final whistle blew before a second Union goal got past keeper Pedro Gallese.

The Main Takeaway: It’s the same song and dance every single time the Union fail to produce a sufficient amount of goals—they take too many touches, and they don’t attack with enough ferocity until they’re already on the losing end of the match. There could have easily been two or three goals for the visitors had they not tried to be fancy in the box, and that flair only showed itself when they were already down by two goals. The Union need to start their matches with more intensity, and be more direct with their finishing. Without those (relatively simple) fixes, there’s no point in hoping to finish first in the East this season.

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