ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City SC may have gotten their six-game winning streak snapped after a 2-1 defeat to Atlanta United on Sunday but following the match Jason Kreis said the result served as a true measurement on where they want to be.
“The message is clear that we’re a team that’s moving forward, and I think Atlanta has shown through the way they finished last year and the way they started off this year, they’re the top… that’s the apex,” Kreis told reporters. “So, they give us a measuring stick to see what we’re striving for. I feel like we’re an improving team. I feel like we caused all sorts of troubles in the second half. From my point of view, [if] we would’ve handled the whole 90 minutes like we did in the second 45, I think we’d be in a much better place.”
An emotional second-half looked like it could end in a result for Orlando after Justin Meram netted his first goal of the season for the Lions in the 57th minute.
But a lack of emotional composure, as Kreis would say, played a factor in the performance for the Lions on Sunday.
“The biggest part tonight is just the emotions that are involved in the game,” said Kreis. “We had some things from the players, some reactions from the referees, some reactions from their players. I think it’s important we continue to improve on those aspects, and we continue to remind ourselves of who we are.
Left back Mohamed El-Munir and midfielder Sacha Kljestan got into a spat on the field in the 87th minute, which resulted into center back Amro Tarek to separate the two, but Kreis insisted both players apologized to each other after the game.
“You have two players that are the ultimate competitors,” said Kreis. “They don’t like being down again at home. They’re striving for more, they want to do better. So, it comes from a very honest place.
“The two players have apologized to each other and its water under the bridge,” Kreis added. “Some emotional things we need to be a little bit more composed as we move forward.”
Atlanta United goalkeeper Alec Kann, who was playing for a suspended Brad Guzan, finished the night with five saves, but said Atlanta did enough to walk away with three points and eradicate Orlando’s six-game winning streak.
“Obviously, Orlando is a geographic rival, so this is a game everyone is up for,” said Kann. “We knew there would be space to play and we were able to exploit it early on. We could’ve gone into halftime 3-0 or 4-0 and have the game dead, but we made it difficult for ourselves, but at the end of the day it was a huge result for us.”