ORLANDO, Fla. – Lethargic, and lacking in energy.
That was how Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath summed up his team’s 2-0 defeat by FC Dallas on Saturday, a setback that punctured their five-game unbeaten home run and put a question mark against their growing playoff hopes.
Heath also refused to clutch at the few straws that fell his team’s way, as a borderline offside decision ruled out a possible Pedro Ribeiro strike and an 89th-minute penalty kick by Carlos Rivas ended high in the seats behind the goal.
“The penalty just about summed the evening up,” Heath insisted. “We just looked lethargic and lacking in energy and enthusiasm for much of the game. It was a long 90 minutes.
“We probably got what we deserved, which was nothing, and that’s probably the easiest points on the road Dallas will get this season. They were better than us in every department.”
Orlando failed to record a shot on target and managed just three all evening, including the penalty. But Heath refused to use his squad’s depleted status – with seven players missing through injury, international duty or suspension, including leading scorer and captain Kaká – as an excuse.
“That’s probably the most disappointed I have been all year,” he said. “We didn’t move the ball well and didn’t get people in the right holes at the right times. Hopefully, it is just one of those days and we will come back next week and improve ourselves – because we will need to.
“It looked like Pedro might just have been onside, so that might have been a lifeline, but we couldn’t really get Dallas out of their comfort zone and we never really caused them any problems.”
With his squad already shorthanded, the last thing Heath needed was the first-half shoulder injury to defensive stalwart Sean St. Ledger or the late dismissal of Luke Boden for two yellow cards that potentially rules them both out of next week’s home clash with New York Red Bulls.
“Sean’s shoulder is definitely a problem,” the head coach confirmed. “I don’t know yet if it was dislocated or just popped out, but either way he will need to be evaluated.
“With Luke it is just disappointing. I don’t know if he caught him with his elbow [for the second yellow card] but obviously he will miss next week. I don’t know yet how we will work things, but hopefully we might have Brek [Shea] back.”
Boden, 26, was upset at the first dismissal of his nine-year pro career, and especially the second yellow card, when the 6-foot-1 defender clashed with 5-foot-7 Dallas sub Alex Zendejas.
“I thought it was harsh,” he insisted. “I think I made two fouls in the whole game and got two yellows, and I don’t think they were warranted.
“For the second one, Seb [Hines] headed the ball and I just tried to get in front of their lad. He is quite a bit shorter than me and I just put my arms out to shield the ball and the referee has said I elbowed him. The official only has a couple of seconds to make a decision, and unfortunately for me, he sent me off.”
The only bright note for Orlando was the return from injury of French center back Aurelien Collin, who came off the bench for St Ledger in the 42nd minute after being sidelined on June 20 with a hamstring strain.
“It felt great to be back on the field,” he confirmed. “I am physically fine and everything felt right. But obviously it was a very bad night for us as a team.
“We need this loss to put ourselves in front of the mirror because everything tonight wasn’t good enough. We didn’t give everything as we usually do and we will need to see a big reaction from everybody next week.”