When Orlando City traded for left back Corey Ashe on July 14, questions circled about Luke Boden’s role on the team. Would he sit behind his new teammate? Or would head coach Adrian Heath move him to another position?
“Wherever the manager sees fit that he wants me to play, I’ll always play and give 100 percent like I always have done,” Boden said after training on Friday when asked about where he could play moving forward.
After a few weeks, those questions were finally answered on Saturday night when Boden lined up at left wing with Ashe at left back. It was the first time they had been on the field at the same time and their chemistry was instant in the 5-2 win.
Throughout the first half, the two had some great combinations up the left side, opening up room for services into the box, and their work finally paid off in the 53rd minute. Boden played a beautiful ball behind the Crew backline to get Ashe into the clear. He played a wide-open Larin at the penalty spot for his second goal and his fifth in two games, which tied Damani Ralph’s 2003 record for most goals by a rookie (11).
“I thought him and Corey were excellent [in the] second half,” said Heath.
“He and I were on the same page. I had an idea of how he wanted to receive the ball and it was kind of just going out there and playing, just reading each other’s body language. He made some good runs, played in some good balls. It made my job easier,” said Ashe after the game.
All told, Ashe put up two assists – on both of Larin’s goals – and made three tackles while holding Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuaín, and MLS leading goal-scorer Kei Kamara. Boden tallied one assist, but created three other chances in completing a game-high 96.8 percent of his passes.
“[Boden] is an intelligent footballer. I think he got better as the game got on, actually,” said Heath. “And towards the end he was cramping up a little bit, which obviously shows the effort he put in.”
Bodz had started eleven consecutive games before going unused in two-straight. Tonight was his first game back in the lineup and he played with the intensity of a player fighting to regain a spot on the starting XI. Luckily for Lions fans, it was in front of Corey Ashe – the same guy whose spot he was fighting for.
Funny how things work out.