Adrian Heath - Orlando City - April 17, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla.—Prior to the start of the season, Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath insisted one of his team’s key areas to improve was its on-field discipline.


But, after seeing the Lions accumulate 10 red cards and 71 yellows in 2015 (good for 1st and 6th, accordingly, in overall disciplinary warnings), Heath has witnessed his men trending in that direction again in recent weeks.


Orlando racked up four yellow cards and a red in last Friday’s 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls and the Lions currently sit sixth once again in the disciplinary table (see below).


While Heath is anxious to halt the card tide, he admits it might be difficult to rectify in the current climate.


“It always concerns me,” Heath said. “But we are all in a similar boat these days. It is the same as everybody else.


“I am hearing a lot of coaches saying the same thing about the number of cards and it might just be something we’ll have to live with. Certainly we know that if you leave your feet and show your studs, you are going to get sent off, but with the yellow cards it is harder to tell.”


The Lions are one of eight teams to have had at least five players chalk up multiple bookings so far in 2016, while Colorado’s current pace (28 cards in 10 games) would exceed last year’s top offender (Montreal, 77) by another 18 cards.


Thirteen teams have had at least one player red carded to date (five of them more than once), while only two are in single figures for total cards.


Heath argues many teams are struggling to deal with the number of cards being handed out – and the potential for suspensions that go with them.


“Sometimes it is difficult to change players’ nature in the heat of the moment,” Heath said. “Tackling is certainly important and you don’t want to take that out of the game, but we have to be mindful of what referees are looking for.


“The bottom line is that there is only so much we can do as coaches, and sometimes you have to let things take their own course. But some of these things are self-correcting.”


Heath was referring to the one thing that genuinely drives him crazy: bookings for dissent.


“Those are the ones I hate to see,” he said. “It’s the one thing you have control over, so don’t give the referee a reason to book you.


“It’s going to be a tough lesson for some this year, though, because we have strength in depth this season, which we didn’t have last year. If you lose your place through a ban for something silly like dissent, through your own stupidity basically, it’s going to be tough to get back in the team, and then you will only have yourself to blame.”


Disciplinary Standings


Current as of May 10, 2016.

Team
Yellows
Reds
Total
Colorado
28
0
28
DC United
23
1
24
NYCFC
24
0
24
Dallas
23
0
23
Vancouver
19
2
21
<em>Orlando</em>
<em>19</em>
<em>2</em>
<em>21</em>
Portland
20
1
21
Toronto
19
1
20
Real Salt Lake
15
3
18
New England
16
2
18
NYRB
17
1
18
Los Angeles
17
1
18
Seattle
16
1
17
Philadelphia
13
2
15
Sporting KC
14
1
15
Montreal
14
0
14
San Jose
12
1
13
Houston
11
0
11
Chicago
9
0
9
Columbus
9
0
9