ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City SC were already on pace of setting the record for most goals allowed in a single MLS season.
“It’s not a great thing,” said Orlando defender Scott Sutter on the record. “It’s not something you can be proud of, breaking a record for most goals. It’s a shame. That’s the way it is. There’s not really much we can do. Just got to focus on the last two games and then the offseason and try to figure it out for next season.”
The previous record was held by Minnesota United when they allowed 70 goals in their MLS expansion season in 2017. Orlando tied that record last week during a 2-0 loss against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
Defending has been an ongoing issue for the Lions this season. A breakdown of Orlando’s goals allowed this year shows 31 of those goals were allowed under Jason Kreis before has was fired in the summer. Six were conceded under Bobby Murphy when he held the interim coach tag.
While 35 goals have been conceded since James O’Connor took charge in July – the same month the Lions last won a regular season game.
With two games left to the season, and Orlando officially eliminated from the playoff race, O’Connor was blunt Wednesday night on what he expects from his side heading into Sunday’s game against Columbus Crew SC (3 pm ET | TV & Streaming Info) and the Decision Day finale at the New York Red Bulls.
“We need to stop defending the way we’re defending,” said O’Connor. “When you look at the games, we’re chasing the game. We put ourselves in a position where we’re 1-0 down after two and a half minutes or three minutes. It’s something we continually do.”
“It becomes very difficult to go and win games when you’re defending like we’re defending,” he added. “It affects confidence, it affects play going forward and it becomes a test of character and a test of mentality. I think the important piece is to have much better shape when we don’t have the ball.”