The Lions faced a tough side such as D.C United without the best starting eleven that head coach Jason Kreis can put on the field. In fact, two rookies made their professional debut in the very first official match of Orlando City in this 2018 campaign.
After achieving a well-deserved 90’+ equalizer while dominating the game with one less man on the pitch, we could argue that the Lions showed they have an important depth and great-level back-up footballers since, due to preseason injuries and suspensions from last season, many of the main players of the roster couldn’t participate.
For instance, top assists leader from 2016 and 2017 seasons Sacha Kljestan could not be on the field because a suspension he got last year. On the other hand, the main Lion striker, Dom Dwyer, suffered a grade 1 quad strain and will miss all the matches in March, and young international player Josué Colmán, a very talented creative midfielder, had a quad bruise which made his debut as a Lion impossible.
In addition, experienced players as Dillon Powers and Uri Rosell are also out of the field due to sprained ankles and fitness, respectively.
However, although Orlando City has all of these important players out, they managed to control and dominate a tough match not only for almost the entirety of the 90’ minutes, but with one man less and not all of their “power” on the pitch.
On the other hand, the Lions even had the “luxury” of playing with two MLS rookies who delivered a very decent performance such as Chris Mueller and Cam Lindley. Mueller, for example, showed his potential by making things difficult for D.C United center-backs when trying to reach for Justin Meram’s crosses. In relation Lindley, the young holding midfielder contributed many times on marking the rival’s receptors and stopping dangerous runs on both left and right midfield.
Definitively, the different tactical variations Kreis has on hands due to the great quality and polyvalent players he is commanding means Orlando City did the homework this 2018 preseason. Also, the correct choosing of players for the current season is shown by the commitment seen on that glorious, well-played opening game.