It was after Orlando City’s St. Patrick’s Day loss in New York that Jason Kreis said “We desperately need something to go our way. One result. One bounce. One something to go our way early in a game.
“I think we will move forward quickly after that.”
Two games later, the early bounce has yet to come. But two games and six points later, City’s stumble out of the gate is a fading memory.
“We want to look at the positives,” Kreis said two days after the Lions poured three goals into the last 10 minutes to steal a win against Portland. “It says a tremendous amount about our team now that even going back to the D.C. game, we’re down a goal and get a goal late to manage a fantastic result being down a man for 60 minutes. Then to be down multiple times in the same game against the Red Bulls and come back and get three points was massive. But then to top it off with being down two goals and coming back to win the game, again, says a lot about the character of the team.”
Things aren’t all cheeky for the Lions, though. Issues persist along the back line - City has conceded first in every game - and the team is still missing key players across the field. A front-loaded home schedule has yielded seven points.
But where City’s first three games were marked by opportunities missed, its last two were marked by opportunities seized. Goals off a throw-in against the Red Bulls and a penalty against Portland permanently erased visiting leads and late heroics twice turned one point into three.
“There’s nothing but positive from that,” goalkeeper Joe Bendik said.
The Lions will look to continue their good fortune in Philadelphia on Friday (8pm, ESPN) against a Union team that, despite the results, has been dangerous.
“If you look at the last two matches, they’ve played really positively and should’ve probably gotten - no doubt about it - should have gotten better results,” Kreis said. “They were dominant in those games.”
Dominance doesn’t always translate to the scoreboard, though, and when Alejandro Bedoya tied the Union’s last game against San Jose, it was their first goal in 265 minutes of play. But considering their last match against Philly, the Lions will be fully prepared.
“A lot of speed there and a good bit of technical ability,” Bendik said of the Union’s trio of CJ Sapong, Fafa Picault and David Accam. “They’re a good team at home so we’ll look to keep things compact.”