A 4 - 1 loss at home when your team is trying to make the playoffs is never fun, and when the match is the second in a row that your team has surrendered four goals in a loss, it's especially disheartening. There is certainly not much good you can say about the team's form at this point. In fact the only thing I can say is that when I've thought I have figured out which players are key to this team being successful, they prove just how wrong I am by making dumb mistakes or failing to take advantage of opportunities. After these two matches, about the only thing good I can find is that there are fewer times I will have to endure this kind of crap before the end of the season rolls around. Perhaps during the off-season, Jason Kreis can eject some of the dead wood from the team and bring in players that will give 90 minutes of effort every match from March through October every season--no exceptions, no excuses.
- Joe Bendik - The keeper didn't have his best game, but he was still the best player in an Orlando City kit that was on the pitch last night. He recorded only one save, but that had more to do with the limited number of shots Columbus put on target and the fact that the defense often left him in a situation where he was alone against several attacking players that could attack the goal.
- Only Five Matches Left - There are times I wish the season would never end for my club, but right now I kind of wish they could put the 2016 season out of its misery today. Seriously, this team sometimes looks like a sports version of the Keystone Cops with their incompetence and inability to finish a match.
- Shooting Worse than Death Star Stormtroopers - You remember those scenes in the original 1977 Star Wars film where the heroes are running through a hail of blaster fire from an army of stormtroopers, and you knew that they would all be OK because the bad guys were blasting everything from walls and parked spaceships and control panels, but they were never hitting anything they were trying to hit? Well that was about the way Orlando City's shots were going last night. The Lions registered 20 shots on the night, more than twice the number that Columbus managed (only eight). But less than half the shots were even on frame, and most of those were either right at goalkeeper Steve Clark or struck slowly enough that the Columbus keeper could easily corral and stop them.
- Shea on the Bench - It seemed an odd choice to start the match with Brek Shea on the bench. Last week in his stint from the bench Shea scored a goal, and when he came into last night's match late off the bench he seemed to add a much-needed spark to the home side's attack. To my mind, these performances should be earning Shea a chance to be back in the starting lineup, because we could use that kind of pressure on the opponents for a full 90 minutes. Maybe Coach Kreis will put him into the match next week. It is understandable that while both Rafael Ramos and Pedro Ribeiro were back on the bench and available as subs that they would not be put into a game that was already out of hand as substitutes. But it will be good to see them able to get back to playing and hopefully contributing some minutes before the end of the season, presuming that the last two matches don't mark the beginning of a monumental collapse for Orlando City.
- Lack of Defensive Discipline - The two goals Columbus scored in the first half came on complete defensive meltdowns by Orlando City that allowed long passes up the middle of the pitch. This let multiple players get behind the Orlando City defenders and have one-on-one chances against keeper Joe Bendik. While Bendik is good, the defense needs to learn not to leave him so exposed and unaided so many times. He deserves a better, more compact, and more disciplined defense to play in front of him.
- Own Goal Madness - Seb Hines had the unlucky misfortune to score an own goal last night in the 22nd minute to put Columbus up 2 - 0 early. Having a player like the "headmaster" who scores most goals with his noggin is both a blessing and a curse. It works well when your team is the one taking the corner kick so that he can guide the ball into the net. But the muscle memory and practice he gets scoring goals when the team is attacking makes it much harder for him to direct balls AWAY from the net when it's the other team that is taking the corner kicks.
What about you? Do these kind of games make you glad there are not many more matches left in the season, or do you think matches like the most recent pair just represent part of the growing pains of getting used to a new coach? Did you find any silver linings in the play last night despite the lopsided loss, or did it just confirm for you if there are certain players that Coach Jason Kreis should work to remove from the roster in the off-season? Let me know in the comments below!