Orlando City SC needed more surge against New York City FC, losing 4-2

• Speed drills working, but need to be worked harder
• McGuire extends scoring lead in losing effort
• Teamwork lacking in first half
Orlando City SC v Charlotte FC
Orlando City SC v Charlotte FC / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Most Orlando City SC players performed competently. But it wasn’t enough to overcome precision surges by New York City FC at Yankee Stadium.

Striker Duncan McGuire provided some excitement for home and visitor supporters against New York City FC. He’s getting better with each Orlando City SC start.

Yet by the assessment of Orlando head coach Oscar Pareja, it was overall under-performance in the first half that doomed Orlando. They lost 4-2.

The first-half problem got compounded by missing their equalizer opportunity during the second half.

In the 29th minute, backup goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar had to leave the pitch on a stretcher along with NYCFC winger Malachi Jones after they collided. Just moments before, Stajduhar had suffered the low, 30-foot goal shot of Santiago Rodriguez, attacking midfielder for New York City. Alonso Martinez and Jones assisted him.

That demanded the MLS debut of the team’s third keeper, Javier Otero Leon. His introduction to supporters and the Orlando-New York City FC pitch will be covered in the next story here.

With the injuries, the teams played a 15-minute first-half stoppage time. By the end of that, Orlando City was down 3-0. Based on this season’s early slow start, supporters expect the team to concede with a first-half gap like that.

But the players weren’t quite finished. Late in the second half, Orlando sent in striker Luis Muriel and defender Kyle Smith. This is the hair of the dog that bit you for Orlando. Opponents who see City threatening to equalize in the second half – if not succeeding – will enact their drills for a surge in speed in the later minutes.

That has served in the past to frustrate and confuse the Orlando squad.

With that same tactic in their hands, hybrid defender Dagur Thorhallsson combined with Martin Ojeda and Kyle Smith for a score in the 72nd minute. It’s Thorhallsson’s second goal of the season and Ojeda’s fourth assist.

Jack Lynn came in for even more fresh legs in the 90th minute.

Then in the first minute of second-half stoppage time, McGuire got a payoff from a right-footed shot and brought the match to a mere one-goal deficit. It is McGuire’s seventh goal of the season, extending his team lead.

Orlando’s late-game efforts put City in major disarray. During defensive confusion between New York midfielder Hannes Wolf and keeper Matt Freese, McGuire took possession of the ball and sent it into the net.

But New York City had already reloaded their squad with fresh talent and mounted a counter-surge. In the fourth minute, forward Mounsef Bakrar connected with James Sands and Augustin Ojeda to put the game away for New York 4-2.

Orlando City SC is making good on their drills. They have to make good on them more consistently and in both halves of the match.