Orlando Derby Welcomes on Orlando City Soccer President for Life Phil Rawlins!

We were not lacking for things to talk about on this week’s episode. Of course, we discuss the franchise-altering loss to Montreal last week and Jason Kreis being unceremoniously drummed out of the corps. Then we take a virtual trip to Russia to revel in Messi’s choke against our adopted team of Iceland and rank our favorite surprises of the tournament so far.

However, our big segment is reserved for special guest Phil Rawlins, Founder and President for Life of Orlando City Soccer. We chat about his hand in hiring Kreis, his thoughts on where the team is now (and where it is headed) and much more.

We also have a special announcement for Orlando Derby tailgate and watch parties! Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando (where The Edge and 8 Seconds used to be on Livingston) will host our pregame party this Saturday starting at 4:00pm and our Atlanta United watch party on the 30th!

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 every half-hour. Plus, Doc will have a free pair of tickets to the game on Saturday! 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 episode here:

 

If you want to hurt our feelings and only listen to the Phil segment, you can do that here:

Simon’s “Ten Thinks” from the Montreal Meltdown (of nuclear proportions)

I find I have some time on my hands this afternoon here in St Tropez (yes, really!), so here are a quick few thoughts on the OCSC state of affairs:

1) It’s not a surprise. The front office couldn’t afford to be going into July with only 19pts in the bank for effectively the first half of the season, as I said in last week’s ’10 Thinks.’

2) Jason Kreis amassed a record of 21 wins in 64 games for the Lions, or a 32.8 winning percentage. Adrian Heath won 16 of 50 in MLS (also 32 per cent). We all know what happened to Inchy.

3) As was the case with Heath’s shock sacking, the team was on a distinct downward spiral, and the front office feared the season’s playoff hopes were going with it.

4) This OCSC team was built to win, and win now. The front office brought in 13 new players this year, all with Jason’s say-so. This was his team.

5) Was it too early to pull the plug on the head coach? It’s always hard to say in these situations. But just as the club couldn’t stomach the feeble 4-0 loss at Dallas which put paid to Inchy in 2016, so a 3-0 defeat at hopeless Montreal was the final straw last week.

6) The bottom line for the front office was that performances had gotten increasingly poor through the six-game losing streak. Successive three-goal defeats to teams that don’t look like MLS Cup contenders are the stuff of nightmares all round.

7) This season has been blighted by injuries and World Cup call-ups, but there is still plenty of talent in this squad and it should be doing better, especially against the likes of Chicago, Vancouver & Montreal. Having all the possession in the world is no good unless you do something with it.

8) Players like Kljestan, Meram, Rosell and Colman should all be making better contributions than they have to date. Johnson and Toia have been liabilities. That’s all on the head coach.

9) Kreis is entitled to bemoan the injury fortunes of Dom Dwyer, who was sidelined for most of the losing run, but not for the lack of a proper replacement. No-one else has been able to score consistently.

10) Where does the team go now? That is totally up in the air. Unless the front office already has someone in mind to take over, it’s going to take a LOT of character to salvage this season. Bobby Murphy is a good guy for this situation, but it’s up to the senior players to take the lead now.

Cheers,
Simon

Orlando Derby Makes a Special Appearance on The Finish Line to Discuss Jason Kreis’s Need for a Real Estate Agent

Jerry O’Neill and The Shot Doctor invited our host, Doc, to join them on The Finish Line (weekdays from 3-6pm on FM 96.9 The Game) to talk about the breaking news that Orlando City has unceremoniously drummed Jason Kreis out of the corps.

Listen to the full segment here:

Special Guest Adrian Healey of ESPN’s MLS Broadcast Team Joins Orlando Derby!

(Photo by Scott Clarke / ESPN Images)

After extending a club-record losing streak to five matches, Orlando City fans are settling in for the dreaded “Summer Swoon” that has become all too familiar. We get an outsider’s perspective from ESPN lead MLS announcer Adrian Healey, who was kind enough to fill in for our “Soccer Sherpa” Simon (who is off on Top Secret Assignment).

As always, Lord Commander of the UCF Knights’ Watch, Charles, will weigh in with what the general feeling is along The Wall. It is probably not spoiling anything to tell you it is not good.

We also get prepared for the World Cup by putting all our chips on Iceland. We may not be celebrating a title, but we will certainly have fun along the way. If you cannot get hyped listening to their announcers, the problem is with you.

Listen to the full show here:

Simon’s “Ten Thinks” from the Vancouver Fiasco

Editors note: Pick up a copy of Simon’s book Defying Expectations: Phil Rawlins and the Orlando City Soccer Story as the perfect Father’s Day gift for the Orlando City fan dad in your life!

1) OK, Lion Nation, I hear you. But before we get too carried away with the angst and agony of the team’s 5-game losing run, let’s be analytical. It may not be saying too much about a game that was a complete abomination for 75 mins, but OCSC was the better team for much of that time.

2) Being without Scott Sutter (again) is now looking like our Achilles heel. Fully 4 of the VAN goals came through that area, and that’s a terrible indictment of one position. There were multiple defensive failures, of course, but that is now the biggest. Spector also needs to be out there, and soon.

3) Once again, OCSC was victimized by a referee who thinks yellow cards are confetti. The two on El-Munir were laughable. If that’s the standard, you’ll hand out 20 a game. FIVE yellows on 16 fouls (one every 3 fouls)?? Come on, that’s just a joke.

4) The Lions can still turn this around. A 5-game losing streak is a big flashing red light. Losing to another team with such limited ambitions is a red light. But there are still 20 games to go & the team is above the red line – just. They can still be one of the six best in the Eastern Conference.

5) But not playing like they did in the first hour last night. For all the moments of hope, there were FAR too many alarm bells ringing, all over the field. Yes, OCSC was the better team, but that’s like saying the the Orlando Magic are better than the Phoenix Suns.

6) This team simply doesn’t do enough with all the possession it has. Possession is not the end game, it’s a means to an end, and. at the moment, it seems that merely possessing the ball is enough. It’s all very well floating like a butterfly, but you can’t sting like one, too.

7) Chris Mueller was the only player who looked like he knew that for the first hour, repeatedly causing trouble down the VAN right flank. Sadly, Chris is not Dom Dwyer, and the end product is just not there yet.

8) When OCSC scored, it was the first genuine cutting edge they showed up until then, and it came completely out of the blue. It did happen with Dwyer back on the field, though, which is important, but otherwise our offense was totally offensive and Colman looked like a little boy lost as the lone striker.

9) Few players came out of this game with any credit (certainly Mueller, maybe Rosell, maybe Kljestan). Meram did absolutely nothing in 61mins; Johnson did less than nothing, apart from proving, yet again, he can’t play right-back. Schuler was MIA too often.

10) This is now on the coaching staff to turn it around, and soon, starting with getting at least 4pts in back-to-back games with Montreal. That now has to be the only thing on the team’s collective mind. If it gets into July with only 19pts, it’s time for a change

Cheers,
Simon

Okay…Now There May Be Some Cause for Concern

The recurring theme of “there were some positives we can take away from that loss” has worn thin after a fourth consecutive defeat for Orlando City. While there were some bright spots, as head coach Jason Kreis himself said, at critical moments the team does not get it done without Dom Dwyer on the pitch.

Doc, Lord Commander of the UCF Knights’ Watch Charles and our “Soccer Sherpa” Simon all have differing levels of concern. What we saw in Yankee Stadium was not good, but the team is still above the red line and there will be opportunities to improve the team before the playoff push arrives.

We will also talk a little US Open Cup. The Lions travel to Miami United on Wednesday for their fourth-round match up. How much effort should be put into these matches is the subject of much debate among fans, and among our crew.

Listen to the full show here:

 

Simon’s “Ten Thinks” from the NYCFC Drubbing

Editors note: Pick up a copy of Simon’s book Defying Expectations: Phil Rawlins and the Orlando City Soccer Story as the perfect Father’s Day gift for the Orlando City fan dad in your life!

1) We’re certainly not at DEFCON 1 yet, but no-one on the team should be comfortable about a fourth defeat in a row. The 3-0 scoreline flattered NYCFC, who were pretty ordinary on the night, but the Lions have some glaring deficiencies right now, which leads us to…
2) Whoever thought this team had any attacking cover without Dom Dwyer was whistling in the wind. This lineup is totally punchless without Dwyer, and that’s on the front office. The loss of one player should not make THAT big of a difference, but….
3) Orlando is 6-1-0 when Dwyer plays, with a total of 17 (count ’em, SEVENTEEN) goals scored (by the team) and nine conceded. The team is 0-5-1 when he doesn’t, with just FIVE goals scored and 14 conceded. That’s an indictment of the roster-building.
4) No team in MLS would be competitive with seven players missing, four of them (Dwyer, Spector, Yotun and Tarek) being absolutely key men. Jason Kreis has not had ONE game yet this year where his full first-choice line-up has been available. Not one.
5) The Not-So-Magnificent Seven have now missed THIRTY-ONE games between them, led by Spector (9), Sutter (8), Dwyer (6), Yotun (3), Tarek and Sane (2) and Schuler (1). That is just plain bad luck, pure and simple.
6) Even tho the team was missing 7 starters, again, they bossed long periods of the game & should have taken a point, again. The reason they didn’t was because of 2) above. None of Pinho, Mueller or Colman are able to fill Dwyer’s boots. Two still look like the rookies they are while the other is just not at MLS level.
7) When a team is struggling with injuries and lack of goalscoring, it needs its senior and MLS-savvy players to step up. That didn’t happen at NYCFC and four in particular are just not pulling their weight right now. That’s a huge drag on the team.
8) The main culprits are Kljestan & Meram, who have all the you ability need but just aren’t doing enough. They were signed to be difference-makers but the only difference right now is they’re either a step slow, taking the wrong option or over-thinking what they’re doing. It’s time for them to break out of this funk. Fast.
9) The other 2 who were badly at fault on Sat were Toia & Johnson, who were just flat out embarrassed at times & well below the required standard. Johnson is playing out of position & it’s really showing while Toia, in his 1st start of season, was horribly off the pace & badly exposed on NY’s 1st goal.
10) It certainly wasn’t all bad. OCSC possessed the ball really well at times (no mean feat on that abomination of a field) & looked really solid in the middle 3rd thanks to Higuita, Rosell and Mueller. But the absolute star was Rocha. For a stand-in CB, he was immense, mature beyond his years & a real driving force. Bravo, sir!
And 11) With all the injuries, the team must forget Wednesday’s US Open Cup game. Put out a youth team, if necessary. Everyone must be geared up as well as possible and ready to play at Vancouver on Sat. Even a draw would be a good result at this stage, but a 5th straight L doesn’t bear thinking about.
Cheers,
Simon

Orlando Dominates Chicago and Wins the Same Day Orlando Dominates Chicago and Loses

Saturday was a mixed bag for Orlando soccer fans. The Pride took care of business in Chicago to continue their fantastic run of matches, while later in the evening here in Orlando the Lions let one get away to the Chicago Fire. Not to mention that across the pond that day Real Madrid won their 12th Champions league title (and third in a row).

Doc, Charles and Simon (from right to left) at the City match on Saturday.

Doc, Lord Commander of the UCF Knight’s Watch Charles and our “Soccer Sherpa” Simon break down all the action, but also share their tale of Simon’s first experience in the Supporter Section of Orlando City Stadium. He and his lovely wife Susan (authors of Defying Expectations: Phil Rawlins and the Orlando City Soccer Story) spent the match behind the goal, and came away with a new appreciation for Lions’ fandom.

You can listen to the full show here:

Simon’s “Ten Thinks” from the Chicago Fire Debacle

Ok, here we go with this week’s 10 Thinks (now my brain has simmered down!):

1) It was a hugely deflating loss, at home to a team that will not be anywhere near the playoffs this year, but the OCSC sky isn’t falling. The team was missing SEVEN regulars, including 4 key players. No team in MLS can sustain being without that many.

2) The sky may not be falling, but it is certainly very cloudy. Despite those 7 missing men, the Lions still bossed the game for long periods and were dominant statistically in every major category. Except the one that counts most. Which brings us to…

3) The team has no reliable striker with Dom on the sidelines. Pinho, Colman and Mueller have all had a turn at being The Man but, collectively, all still look like boys in the goal-scoring scheme of things.

4) Don’t count out that trio – or the team – just yet, though. Both Colman and Mueller are getting in the right positions and doing lots of good work around the box. Just remember both are rookies and they’ll make rookie errors (as both did on Sat night).

5) Having said all that, the team was still (yes, it has to be said) unlucky against the Fire. Even the visiting coach admitted it. On a different day they would have had at least one penalty, while McClain had as good a game as a keeper can and Gordon hit a wonder strike.

6) Having given Gordon his due, he was only allowed the space to do it because of the most makeshift of CB partnerships. Without Spector, Tarek and Sane, Rocha played CB for 1st time in his career, and both he & Schuler gave the lone CHI striker WAY too much room in which to work.

7) Something HAS to be said (yet again) about the officiating, because OCSC are piling up cards at a ridiculous rate. FIVE yellows on 14 fouls (several of which were of the softest kind)? CHI had ONE yellow on the same number of fouls. Just ridiculous.

8) There were still notable bright spots for the Lions. Rosell showed he is quickly picking up the MLS pace in his 2nd full start and Higuita is fast becoming one of the best defensive Mids in the league, with another Man-of-the-Match performance on Sat.

9) The bottom line is that the team is still in a solid playoff position, still 4pts clear of PHI in seventh spot, and they are simply a better team than any of the bottom five.

10) But now they must prove it, during the toughest part of the schedule & still short-handed. This is the BIG test, for players & coaches. FIVE of the next 6 (how come, MLS?) are on the road, including at NYCFC, VAN, ATL & LAFC. That’s a Murderers Row of games. Mental attitude will be key.

And 11) Standing in The Wall for the 1st time on Sat night? Just IMMENSE. What an experience – so much passion, frenzy and general craziness. What amazing fans this team has – and how much they deserve to be winners.

Cheers,
Simon

Editors note: Pick up a copy of Simon’s book Defying Expectations: Phil Rawlins and the Orlando City Soccer Story as the perfect Father’s Day gift for the Orlando City fan dad in your life!

Orlando Derby Welcomes Special Guest Sabrina from The News Junkie

This week we were honored to be joined by star of The News Junkie on REALRadio 104.1 Sabrina! She is the In-Game Host for Orlando City and Orlando Pride, and spent an hour with us discussing the latest fan-suspension news, the City loss to Toronto and the surging Orlando Pride.

If you are going to be attending the Orlando Pride match on Wednesday against the league-leading North Carolina Courage, be one of the first 150 people to use this link to purchase your ticket and Ali Krieger will buy you a beer! That is how a Penn State Nittany Lion connects with fans!

Also, a big “thank you” to Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando for their hospitality hosting our Toronto FC viewing party. The venue is fantastic, the food is amazing and there is free on-site parking! We look forward to our next event there.

Listen to the full show here: