SANFORD, Fla. – The firing of head coach Jason Kreis came as a surprise to the team, according to Orlando City SC interim coach Bobby Murphy.
Kreis, who managed the Lions for almost two years, was let go on Friday during a six-game losing streak in league play.
On Tuesday, Murphy spoke with reporters about the events that transpired over the weekend and what he plans to do while a search for a new head coach is underway.
“It’s always difficult when you go through this because you have personal relationships with Jason [Kreis] and the rest of the guys, but it’s also the nature of the business and what we signed up for,” Murphy said. “[The players] seem well, there’s a shock, there’s a period of sadness, hopefully some self-reflection, but they’ve been through it before. If not this club, different clubs they’ve been at, and they know that they have to get up and get on with it.”
“It was all very much a surprise, but it is what it is, we just move on and go from there."
Murphy said that shortly after the club announced it parted ways with Kreis and his assistants CJ Brown and Miles Joseph on Friday, the team approached him to take the helm as interim coach.
Murphy has not spoken to Kreis since.
Orlando captain Jonathan Spector told reporters that the team shares the responsibility after a slew of bad performances that’s seen the club get outscored 11-2 over its last three games in league play.
“There’s always a little bit of a surprise because you don’t know when it’s coming,” Spector said. “We knew that results weren’t good enough and as players we have to take some responsibility for that as well because we’re the ones on the field.”
“In my opinion, we haven’t been performing to the best of our abilities at times and that’s disappointing,” Spector continued. “We know that we’re a better team than what we shown in these previous two games. Missing some players at times and things haven’t gone quite our way. We’ve had some good performances in there, but the results haven’t been there and ultimately that’s what we’re out there to do – to get results.”
Despite the coaching change, the Lions still sit above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference. For Sacha Kljestan, however, it’s about trying to starting over with a clear mind and fighting to remain in the playoff race.
“We just have to find a way to be motivated more now,” Kljestan said. “Sometimes these things light a fire underneath the players and you see a new energy in the team and hopefully that’s what happens.”