Orlando manufactures a win against the Earthquakes

• Even last-place Earthquakes can be formidable

• Lightning struck for Jack Lynn

• Halftime adjustment works for Orlando

May 18, 2024; San Jose, California, USA; Orlando City forward Jack Lynn (27) plays the ball in the
May 18, 2024; San Jose, California, USA; Orlando City forward Jack Lynn (27) plays the ball in the / Robert Kupbens-USA TODAY Sports

Although last place in the West, San Jose Earthquakes beat three teams this season. Yet they lost to visiting Orlando City SC.

San Jose Earthquakes played visiting Orlando City SC hard enough to keep the match a draw until the 89th minute. Striker Duncan McGuire, Orlando’s leading scorer, went out in the 16th minute with an injury.

Forward Jack Lynn was the number called to replace McGuire. He hasn’t gotten called much. Since 2022, Lynn has appeared in 11 matches, including the San Jose game. He started just once.

Lynn is unusually selective. He’s only taken five shots this season, on target, and put two in for goals.

With Lynn keeping him in sight, midfielder Ivan Angulo took off on a counter-attack. He crossed to forward Martin Ojeda who failed to take control. But Lynn intercepted and directed his shot in for the score, assists to Ojeda and Angulo.

It was the first road win in the all-time series between these teams. It was head coach Oscar Pareja’s 60th Orlando win.

It was the second consecutive clean sheet for an improving Orlando squad. After the game, Lynn explained how his teammates made these improvements..

Everyone drilled expecting to take a position on the pitch, he said.  That way, whether starting or substituting, the procedure doesn’t change.

All players follow the same game plan for the week. So when the substitution was called for McGuire, Lynn with Pareja. The head coach reminded him of the preparations for the week. Even though it was early in the game, Lynn knew what was expected of him from the 16th minute on.

For the entire first half, the Earthquakes played a solid defensive game. They got off more shots than Orlando without scoring. And San Diego stayed up with the visitors in possession.

So while Orlando matched expectations with their preparation, they did adjust for San Diego during the halftime.

As the second half clock ticked toward 90 minutes, the Earthquakes saw Orlando spending more time in the attacking third.

While on the attack, the players knew where Lynn would be when the chance arose. That's because of the drills that week.

It took a long time and a lot of hard play. But in the 89th minute, Angulo started a counter-attack and, with Ojeda, created that chance for Lynn.

Although he didn’t start, Pareja said he recognizes Lynn as someone who’s progressing – evolution he called it. Even in such an early substitution situation, he knew Lynn could score when he got the chance.

And he did.

Comment to @chuckx777