ORLANDO, Fla. – Three games in seven days did not see Orlando City SC drastically tweak its lineup, but after its last two matches that saw similar lineups, the Lions may be looking at fresher legs rather than consistency going forward.
Team-leading goalscorer Cyle Larin was named to the bench for the second consecutive time after Saturday’s scoreless draw against FC Dallas, and the Canadian could have had an impact on the game had he started for the Lions, according to head coach Jason Kreis.
“Yeah, I think he could have. I think there’s a lot of players - I think as coaches we’re always very retrospective and introspective right away. Right away I was thinking to myself, I wonder if fresh legs could have made the difference for us tonight,” Kreis following the match. “You’re always teetering on making those decisions. For me sometimes it’s about consistency and that’s the decision we made tonight. We wanted to stay very consistent after a very strong performance on Wednesday.
“Following that, a very poor performance in Portland. So we needed to make a statement going into Wednesday and then we need to make a statement such that if you play well and you’re part of the team that gets good results, 99 percent of the time you’re going to stay in the lineup and we’re going to keep things the same.”
The Lions played to a 3-0 loss on the road to the Portland Timbers last Sunday, which was followed by a 6-1 thrashing of the New England Revolution on Wednesday. The stretch ended with a 0-0 draw against Dallas on Saturday.
Larin, who leads the team in scoring with 12 goals, was subtle on his response when he was asked about being benched in the last two games.
“I want to start every game, but that’s the coach’s decision not to play me,” said Larin. “Obviously we have two games left, and we have to go into those games and make sure we finish off right.”