Like John Cena Punching Dwayne Johnson In the Butt, Orlando City Has Hit Rock Bottom

What can be said at this point? Even if Orlando City loses the rest of their matches 4-0 they cannot sink any lower, because there is no where beneath them to go. After discussing the latest debacle on the the pitch and letting callers vent their frustrations, we move on to positive news for Orlando soccer fans.

First, owner Flávio Augusto Da Silva has declared he believes coach James O’Connor is the man for the job in turning around the club’s fortunes, so Lions fans can rest assured he will be back to skipper the team in 2019.

Second, the MLS has announced that the 2019 All-Star game is coming to Orlando! I think we speak on behalf of all Orlando soccer fans when we say, “it’s about friggin’ time!”

The positivity does not end there, as Lord Commander of the UCF Knights’ Watch (and Orlando Derby co-host) Charles gives us a rundown of the early success of the UCF men’s and women’s clubs.

Finally, we are hosting another tailgate party at Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando (where The Edge and 8 Seconds used to be on Livingston) before the Houston Dynamo match Saturday!

Our listeners will get free on-site parking. That’s right…free parking downtown…just make sure you enjoy the food & drink specials they have for our audience (their food is outstanding).

You will also have a chance to win a $50 Ace Cafe gift card every hour. Plus, Doc will have a free pair of tickets to the next Orlando City home match against Seattle! Come join us! Doc, Charles and our “Soccer Sherpa” Simon will be there (if he is back from Top Secret Assignment). We promise it will be a blast.

Listen to the full show here:

Simon’s Ten Thinks from the Chicago Fire Match Versus the Orlando Dumpster Fire

One “Think” would probably be enough this week, but here goes…

1) If anyone thought I was being especially harsh on the team last week, when I detailed all the various shortcomings, well, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet….

2) I did insist the team hadn’t hit rock bottom, though, despite the run of just one win in 18 dating back to May 13. Well, on Saturday at Chicago, OCSC didn’t so much hit rock bottom as dive right through it and keep on going.

3) In losing 4-0 to a team that had shown equal levels of incompetence in recent months, the Lions laid the biggest of eggs, the dampest of squibs, and the emptiest of efforts. They gave their fans the coldest of shoulders and shortest of shrifts.

4) There was no hiding from this one. From first minute to last, it was a 24-carat embarrassment, a comic-cuts performance that made the Keystone Cops look like a well-drilled outfit.

5) We’ve seen the team beaten, badly, in the past, but never so abjectly and never without the hint of a whimper. Every single player carries the can for this one. They were supremely inept.

6) There are still six games to go, but I’m struggling to think how coach O’Connor is going to light a fire underneath them for those matches, short of actually lighting a fire underneath them.

7) In theory, the team was back to full strength with the return of Yoshi Yotun and Mohamed El-Munir. Jeez, if that was strength, what would weakness look like?

8) I could go on taking cheap shots but it would be about as effective as our midfield right now, which is Not Very, if you’re not paying attention.

9) This team owes the fans a big apology for what they put on the field last night, and they had better start by giving Houston a rocket at home next Saturday.

10) There is no #10. They don’t deserve it.

Cheers,
Simon

Better Late Than Never, Last Week’s Episode with Brutally Honest Analysis of Orlando City’s Roster by Our “Soccer Sherpa”

We apologize for the long delay posting this episode. We had some technical and logistical difficulties last week.

For those that missed it, last week Simon, our “Soccer Sherpa”, gave a painful yet honest assessment of where Orlando City is as a club and what needs to change moving forward. It turned out to be a foreboding analysis given the debacle in Chicago over the weekend.

You can listen to the full episode here:

Orlando City Gets a Point! Also, Americans Are Invading European Soccer (Finally)!

Orlando City got off another schnide with a point at home against Philly. It was better than nothing, and the late equalizer was thrilling, but overall a feeling of despair has set in among the Lions’ faithful.

In positive news, the Orlando Pride’s own Marta has been named a finalist for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

Finally, our “Soccer Sherpa”, Simon, gives us the scoop on the host of young American talent that is set to follow Christian Pulisic in our latest European invasion.

Listen to the full show here:

Simon’s “Ten Thinks” on Orlando City Actually Earning a Point

A relatively simple 10 Thinks to kick off the Audition Era of James O’Connor’s reign as head coach. Players are now playing for their Orlando City futures, so here’s how I see things…

1) Hopefully, no fans are holding on to the idea there is any kind of playoff hope left for this team. Despite earning a point in Sat’s 2-2 draw with PHI, the Lions are now even further behind (12pts) with only 8 games left. It’s just not happening, folks.

2) The bottom line from the last three weeks, as we see almost all the players fit again, is that this roster isn’t good enough to compete at MLS playoff level. The Lions have now played three successive playoff contenders and picked up just one point. Not. Good. Enough.

3) Let me underline the situation in case anyone (Doc?) still thinks it’s going to happen because it is not mathematically impossible. Just ONE win in the last SEVENTEEN games. And they’d need to win SEVEN of their last eight just to have hope. Five of those eight are against genuine contenders. It’s. Not. Happening.

4) Against Philly, OCSC was out-shot 20-11 and the Lions managed just three attempts on goal. As good as the Union have been recently (unbeaten now in six games), they weren’t overly impressive and we still barely threatened their goal for most of the time, especially in another poor second half.

5) The lack of creativity in the team is the glaring flaw at the moment. With the obvious exception of Yoshi Yotun, there is no real MF driving force. Colman & Mueller still don’t look 90-minute MLS attackers and Dwyer remains an isolated figure for most of the time.

6) So let’s focus – as I’m sure James O’Connor really is – on the long-term. There are 30 players on the City roster and a big chunk of them will not be back in 2019. That’s a fact. O’Connor will want to start re-building with players he chooses, and we’re already seeing some experiments with that in mind (Spector at right-back, Higuita in right MF, and Ascues at CB).

7) Most of the roster is now fit again, so practically all 30 will have a chance to impress – and show they deserve to be here next year. It’s not just the fringe players with a lot to prove, either. I believe every single player will be under the microscope between now and the final game at NYRB on Oct 28.

8) That said, unless any of Dwyer, Yotun, Spector, Ascues, O’Neill, Sutter, Rosell & Mueller want out, they should all be part of the picture next season. That’s a pretty decent core to build around. We’re also starting to look more settled at CB – if we can avoid more injuries.

9) Left-back remains a huge question mark. Spector filled in there on Sat, but it’s clearly not his ideal position. I’d like to see El-Munir given a run in that position to see if he can hold it down. He has pace that the team badly needs, but we need to see consistency there.

10) The rest of the roster is all about the attacking third. Which MFs can generate some real offensive threat; who can best support Dom; and where is that extra goal-scoring power off the bench (on Sat, there were just four goals between the six outfield players on the bench)? At the moment, there are more questions than answers.

Cheers,
Simon

Let the Try-Outs for 2019 Begin!

The 2018 Orlando City Soccer season is over. Doc can cling to his delusions of a historic playoff run all he wants, but our “Soccer Sherpa” Simon has put the toe-tag on this year. In this week’s episode Simon breaks down what went wrong and what lies ahead for the Lions.

We were also joined by Lord Commander of the UCF Knight’s Watch, Charles, who gave us a rundown of what went into yet another amazing tifo from the Supporters and the process of how they are made.

You can listen to the full show here:

Simon’s “Ten Thinks” on Another Atlanta Atrocity

1) It was a lovely evening. The temperature was a balmy 82 degrees; humidity was relatively low (by Florida evening standards); the field was immaculate; the stadium was largely full. And then the game started, and it all went to hell.

2) If ever there was a 2-1 ‘thrashing,’ OCSC was thrashed 2-1 by ATL in their own stadium on Friday night. It looked close on paper, but the gulf between the two teams was miles wide in reality. The Lions were out-played, heavily, in almost every phase of the game.

3) The first half was actually relatively encouraging. The narrow, defensive lineup that James O’Connor sent out against ATL limited the best team in the league to a handful of clear chances (albeit one glaring miss from Martinez) and might have kept it clean but for Joe Bendik’s fumble.

4) New signing Carlos Ascues looked extremely solid alongside Uri Rosell as the 2 D-Mids, and is clearly one for the future, a skilful CB who can also play in front of the back four with power and vision.

5) Although OCSC was out-shot 9-4 in the first half, they had much the better of the final 15 minutes, denying ATL possession and creating their best moment of the night (month?) with a brilliant team goal, beautifully finished by Scott Sutter.

6) At 1-1 at the half, and with that period of ascendancy under their belts, we expected the team to come roaring out for the second period and really challenge the Supporters Shield leaders. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear…

7) What happened next was hard to understand and even harder to stomach. The Lions simply mailed it in. Ascues ran out of gas, the MF was over-run, and the team struggled to string two passes together. ATL queued up to take shots at Bendik (who saved nearly all of them, it should be said).

8) There were NINE clear chances for the visitors in 21 minutes before Martinez finally broke through in the 74th minute at the end of a typical OCSC transition breakdown. Ballgame. ATL shut up shop after that but always looked like they could score more if they felt like it.

9) The Lions managed ONE attempt on goal (a good header by Dwyer from a corner). In 45 minutes. With the game on the line & The Wall roaring them on. One. It was beyond miserable. They created precisely nothing and got what they deserved, which was exactly nothing.

10 a) Yes, the team was without Kljestan, Yotun and Higuita through injury/suspension, but the abject surrender in that 2nd half is something we haven’t seen before & is now the big worry for O’Connor.

10 b) There were still whole-hearted efforts from several notables, including Mueller, PC, Sutter, O’Neill and Spector, but it’s hard to credit how bad the collective performed, and that could be really difficult to overcome in the final 9 (dead) games of the season.

10 c) The team is rock bottom in the East and only woeful San Jose has fewer points in the league. In soccer speak, your league position is who you are. After four seasons in MLS, Orlando City is falling further and further behind and a MAJOR overhaul is necessary.

10 d) These last 9 games, starting with Philly on Sat, are an audition for the future, pure and simple. O’Connor needs to find out which players should be here next year, and who isn’t up to the job. With the obvious exceptions of Dom, Yoshi, Spector, Sutter, Rosell, Higuita, Ascues, Mueller and Kljestan, everyone else is playing for their place. And the clock is ticking…

Cheers,
Simon

Orlando City Had One of Its More Successful Weeks. Now It’s Time for Atlanta.

Doc is back from his top-secret assignment to host our latest episode! This week we preview Friday’s match versus Atlanta United, discuss why any male sports fan would want the stands free of women and get another lesson from our “Soccer Sherpa”, Simon!

You can listen to the full show here:

Orlando City Delays Execution of Season with Limp Draw Against Revolution

Orlando City had a chance to start a season turnaround with the Revolution coming to town. Two typical mistakes led to an early 0-2 deficit that left Lions fans on the verge of burying the season, when the team used the energy of the supporters to get back in the match, and then equalize again after a goal that would have crippled the same team two months ago.

Unfortunately, the positives of the draw are far outweighed by negatives that have been known for awhile and become more glaring by the match. Our “Soccer Sherpa” Simon and his wife Susan, authors of Defying Expectations: Phil Rawlins and the Orlando City Soccer Story, join us in-studio to recap the experience in Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, the long-term outlook for City and look ahead to the DC United match.

Speaking of the DC United Match, we will be watching the match at Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando (where The Edge and 8 Seconds used to be on Livingston)!

Our listeners will get free on-site parking. That’s right…free parking downtown…just make sure you enjoy the food & drink specials they have for our audience. You will also have a chance to win a $50 Ace Cafe gift card. Plus, Doc will have a free pair of tickets to an Orlando City match! Come join us! We promise it will be a blast.

Listen to the full episode here:

Simon’s “Ten Thinks”: Revelations from the Revolution Match

I think it’s important to be realistic about the team’s chances for the final 11 games, as I heard quite a few thoughts on the radio after the game that they’re still firmly in the mix, but what I saw was not good, in any way, and I think we need to be brutally honest about where the team is right now.

With that said, here is this week’s 10 Thinks:

1) A last-minute draw with a playoff rival is good, right, especially after being 2-0 and 3-2 down? Wrong. Saturday was a must-win game for #OCSC, against a team ahead in the standings.

2) The Lions only have only FIVE home games left, all of them against genuine playoff contenders, and failing to get three points is a massive blow at this stage of the campaign.

3) Most fans in our section – 104 – of the South Stand were pretty gloomy, and rightfully so. Even though a late, late goal like Scott Sutter’s can usually feel like a ‘win,’ this one didn’t, and the fans’ mood reflected that.

4) But by far the worst aspect of Saturday’s game was not the result so much as the radically poor performance, which represented a massive step backwards after the hopeful signs of recent weeks.

5) Not only was #OCSC still porous at the back, the attacking spark we saw against LAFC and NYCFC was all but gone. Yes, the team scored 3 goals, but 2 of those were distinctly lucky & they really only created 2 genuine chances all game – against a NER team that looked equally poor.

6) It could be the midfield is just running out of legs right now. Both Kljestan & Yotun – the top MF creators – have played a LOT of soccer in the last 2 months and Sat night was a typically hot, energy-sapping Florida night.

7) We also lost Sacha to the worst tackle of the night, which was a massive indictment on (another) PRO referee who simply has no basic understanding of the game. NE fouled often & consistently, and they were allowed to get away with it.

8) But that still doesn’t excuse an #OCSC display that was disjointed, lacking vision, feeble in front of goal (out-shot 14-12), and seemed utterly unable to pass to a teammate at a time.

9) At times, this looked like a pre-season game when players are still getting to know each other, and the coaching scheme, and the number of giveaways – especially in our third of the field – was genuinely shocking. No player came out with any credit, with the possible exception of Amro Tarek.

10) Where does the team go from here? There remains a chink of light. None of the teams immediately above them won this weekend & they get bottom club DC United next. But they will have to win there, AND at home to ATL & PHI to stay alive.

11) So let’s make this Sunday’s Watch Party for the DC game, at the fab Ace Cafe in downtown, a good one. This isn’t so much The Last Chance Saloon as The Outhouse Behind the Saloon!

Cheers,
Simon