Stoppage Time: July 7, 2016

It's another edition of Stoppage Time! What a week--the lions turned into hens in Dallas and laid a huge collective egg; Coach Heath has been fired; Kaka is out vs. Houston tomorrow night! Is the sky really falling?

Give me some questions to answer in future Stoppage Time editions. Send questions on twitter @lionsteethblog and use the hashtag #STQ for "Stoppage Time Questions."

DAL vs. OCSC: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Last night OCSC suffered their worst loss of the season so far, and as fans we can only hope this is as bad as it gets for the rest of the season. Of course, we're only a few weeks removed from seeing NYCFC lose 7 -0 to their cross-town rivals the Red Bulls, and the same Dallas team that won the match against us was beaten by Houston earlier this year 5 - 0. 

I'm not sure if I'm trying to reassure myself that as bad as it felt it can get worse, or if I'm trying to reassure myself that every team in MLS lays a few eggs during the season. Either way it's not helping, because there's really nothing good you can say about that awful match last night... almost nothing--except it's over.

The Good

  • It's Finished - The match is over. It was a big stinking pile of rubbish and it's done.
  • Joe Bendik - I've had to say it before, and I hope I won't have to say it again, but the goalkeeper is the only one who looks like he was actually working for a paycheck last night; the other guys pretty much looked like they were standing around to watch Dallas play. 

The Bad

  • Winter has Gone - As a sports fan, it's sometimes our duty to become melodramatic and engage in hyperbole. This is one of those times. One can look at the way the team failed to show any effort from last night's match and say that Adrian Winter was the only field player that was holding the team together in a semblance of an attacking unit.
  • Kaka Leaving the Game - Coach Heath made a double substitution at half. One substitution was to take out Kaka, and it was reported later that he left the game because of a strain to his calf. The other starter who came off was Tommy Redding, the 2nd-year home grown product who was beaten a few times defensively by speedy Dallas attackers, but who seemed like he actually cared about trying to get a result. He picked up a yellow in the first half, and as poorly as the whole team were playing, I think this switch was the coach's way of trying to keep the youngster from picking up a red card in what very much felt like a lost cause match from the way the rest of the team were failing to play.

The Ugly

  • The Game was Worse than the Score Indicates - The scoreboard may have read 4 - 0, but the game wasn't that close. Dallas dominated possession 56.6% - 43.4%; Dallas outshot Orlando City by a 19 - 3 margin, and within that, Dallas had a 10 - 0 edge in shots on target. The only stat that Orlando City led was a 6 - 0 edge in saves, and that's because Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz didn't have anything to do all night.
  • Horrible Defense - Dallas had all the easy shots on the night in large part because the Orlando City defense was so slow and lethargic by comparison to the speed of the Dallas strikers. Our defenders were also caught out of position many times, especially on set pieces, and on at least one of the goals every defender completely failed to anticipate the very obvious run that Dallas was setting up with a deep pass out of their defensive end of the pitch.

I've been disappointed with the performance of the team before, but I've never quite been completely heartbroken. Until today. And judging by my twitter stream during the match last night, I know I am not alone. Normally with a team I follow I would dread the opening of a transfer window, but now I'm really anticipating it. With Adrian Winter leaving the team for family reasons last week, there's not really many other players I would be super sad to see leave the team the way they were playing last night. If we can unload some of the high-salary guys that appear to be doing little more than leaving sweat stains on the armpits of their kit on a regular basis and get some more hungry, more energetic players in the squad, I'd be willing to call it an upgrade.

What about you? What were your thoughts from last night's match? What is your favorite meme to let the team know how you feel today after that loss? Let me know in the comments!

Dallas vs. OCSC: Previews and Predictions

Happy Independence Day weekend! The long weekend will be capped off on Monday night by fireworks in the skies and on the pitch, as Orlando City's MLS team travels to the Lone Star State to take on Western Conference side Dallas FC. On paper the match already looked like a big challenge, since Dallas has yet to lose at home on the season and Orlando City has only won a single match on the road. Now the test looms even tougher with the recent injury to Rafael Ramos and the departure of Adrian Winter from the team. Nonetheless the match must be played, and results in MLS continue to be surprising in terms of proving parity in the league.

Players to Watch

Tesho Akindele and Michael Barrios lead FC Dallas with 5 goals each on the season, and Mauro Diaz leads the home team with 7 assists on the season. In goal, Chris Seitz has 4 clean sheets on the season and has made 38 saves from 53 shots faced. As a team, Dallas have scored 26 goals and given up 24, with a goal differential of +2.

For Orlando City, Cyle Larin leads the team with 8 goals, while Kaka and Kevin Molino each have 5 assists on the season to lead the team. Goalkeeper "Super Joe" Bendik has just a single shutout, and he has made 51 saves from 78 shots faced. As a team, Orlando City have scored 28 goals and given up 25, for a +3 goal differential.

It's no surprise to long-time fans and observers of Orlando City that the defense is still a bit shaky, as evidenced by the high number of shots that Bendik has had to face. In fact, 78 ties him with Nick Romando (RSL), Steve Clark (CLB), and Andre Blake (PHI) for the second most shots faced by any keeper in MLS to this point of the season. Only Vancouver's David Ousted has had to face more shots this season (93). If my phone rings this weekend with someone from the Orlando City front office asking me what we need from the midseason transfer window, I would recommend going after better holding midfielders and defenders to reduce the number of shots that opponents can make. Of course, I'm not holding my breath for that call...

Predictions

I really hate to do this, but I'm going to have to predict against my team in this match. The record of 6 - 0 - 3 that Dallas has at home is balanced against Orlando City's 1 - 3 - 2 record on the road. And without Winter on the team and with Ramos injured, it's going to be an incredible ask for the team to take three points on the road. I'm going to predict a 3 - 2 victory for the home team. I hope I am wrong, and I hope that playing against his old team will inspire Brek Shea to have his best game since he's been wearing the Orlando City crest. With Winter gone, we are going to need someone to step up into the role of endless energy to chase the ball all over the pitch and get involved in every push forward and build-up towards a shot.

What about you? What do you expect to see on Monday night for the match? Do you expect to see someone step up into the role that Adrian Winter had on the team, and if so whom do you think that will be? Let me know in the comments below!