James O'Connor - Orlando City SC - Press Conference
Courtesy of Orlando City SC

O'Connor: Orlando should be playing for "personal pride" down the stretch

They haven’t scored a goal in four games and a week ago were officially eliminated from Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs contention.

But that doesn’t mean there is nothing to play for when Orlando City SC head to Gillette Stadium to meet the New England Revolution Saturday (7:30 pm ET | TV & Streaming info).

The Revs are desperate for a win to keep their slim postseason aspirations alive, but Lions coach James O’Connor is hoping “personal pride” will elevate his side’s performance Saturday night.

“Whatever New England are going to do, they’re going to do,” he told reporters Wednesday. “But it comes down to our personal pride and performance and how badly do we really want to go and try and get that level of performance for 90 minutes that we’re all craving.”

O’Connor said he hasn’t seen a consistent 90-minute effort from an Orlando team that is winless in their last 11 and are 1-9-3 since he took over for Jason Kreis in early July. The Lions, whose goalless streak is 360 minutes, will be without the only strikers on the roster on Saturday with leading scorer Dom Dwyer suspended for yellow card accumulation and Stefano Pinho sidelined with a quad injury.

That highlights a greater issue of an unbalanced roster that Orlando need to address in the offseason, according to O’Connor.

“I’ve got a real understanding of what we want and what we’re going to get in the offseason,” O’Connor said. “I think for us, every coach is different in how they build out their squad. When I look at it, I have two strikers in a squad of 30 players and I don’t think there’s enough balance there. That’s my opinion. Next year it will be different. We’ll have more balance, but that’s my opinion.”

Whoever steps in to play up top on Saturday, O’Connor is expecting maximum effort — the same is true of everyone in the squad despite the recent poor run of form.

“Your own pride should kick in. That should elevate everything else,” O’Connor said. “My expectation is for the players to have pride in the performance, like we all try to take pride in our work every day. I think that’s something we expect to see.”

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