CARSON, Calif. – Orlando City SC faced a tough task on the end of a two-game, cross-continental road trip on Sunday night, facing the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center four days after a confident 4-1 midweek win at Montreal.
Even with the return of two important players to the team, the Lions looked like a shadow of themselves as they fell 4-2 to the Galaxy.
Kevin Molino (Trinidad & Tobago) and Cyle Larin (Canada) both returned to head coach Jason Kreis’ lineup after international duty. The attacking duo combined to give Orlando an early lead in the 20th minute as Larin’s shot was deflected out to an open Molino, who finished past Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
Orlando captain Kaká was happy to have two important teammates back in the fold.
“Every time we can have these players, it’s good,” he said. “Maybe they were a little bit tired, as a lot of other players were, so it’s something we have to work on.”
Kreis felt the same way, believing that his squad was fatigued from the road trip, and that maybe he and his staff shouldn’t have played Larin and Molino straight off their returns.
“We need them fresh,” Kreis told reporters after the match. “I feel like tonight we had quite a few guys that had a little bit too much fatigue.”
For his part, Larin declined to blame the loss on the Lions' busy schedule.
“I don't think that I felt fatigued,” he said. “For the first 30 minutes we played well, and then for 15 minutes once they scored their first goal the crowd was in [it], and they started attacking us a lot and we gave up 3 goals.”
With OCSC still right in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt, Kaká knows he’ll have to help rally his team for their next match, on Saturday vs. Columbus, and suggested that they can’t think about this loss for too long.
“Of course we want to win every game, but today it wasn't so bad,” said the Brazilian star. “[We have to] take care of ourselves and be ready for the next game.”