Adrian Heath admitted Orlando City’s season simply ran out of steam at Philadelphia Union on Decision Day, as the Lions failed to give themselves any chance of the goals and win they needed to put any pressure on New England for the final Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs spot in the Eastern Conference.
Orlando suffered a 1-0 loss at PPL Park on Sunday in their season finale, which was more than a disappointing end to the Lions’ debut MLS campaign. The result left them five points below the red line in the final standings, but Heath was not about to take issue with his team’s effort at the end of a rollercoaster year.
“I thought we started slow and we had to have a few words at halftime,” he said. “We were better in the second half and showed the kind of enthusiasm, determination and desire we needed.
“I am disappointed we have finished the way we have because we are better than the performance we put on this evening. We wanted to win the game and we took a few chances which left us a bit exposed at times.”
The Orlando boss was less than happy with the refereeing, and he let it be known. Heath questioned the decision for the first-half penalty that gave the Union their goal and the 37th-minute incident that saw his team put the ball in the net only to have the tally called back for because of a Seb Hines foul on goalkeeper Andre Blake.
“I thought we scored a perfectly good goal, to be honest,” he insisted. “And I’m not sure about the penalty. I am at a bit of a loss with the referee’s performance. I don’t know what to say about it anymore. I hope there was an assessor here.”
Heath edmitted he will have to address the disciplinary aspect of the team’s play after the Lions picked up seven yellow cards against the Union, including two in the closing stages for Cristian Higuita that added up to Orlando’s 10th dismissal of the year.
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“I was disappointed with the sending off and some of the things we did,” he added. “Some of it was a bit silly and we just can’t afford it.”
After five wins in a row leading up to the Philadelphia game, Heath was also keen to highlight his team’s positive qualities, especially after battling back from a disastrous July and August.
“We have had a great last six weeks or so,” he insisted. “There has been some really pleasing stuff in that time, as well as some other things we will need to get better at to make sure next year we are up above the red line.
“The fans have also been incredible. I think we had 80 or so outside the team hotel when we arrived and I’ve told the players, 'That’s who you play football for.' I am just disappointed we didn’t give them a victory tonight.”