The Lions failed to score in a 1-0 loss to rivals Atlanta United Sunday to bring the team’s scoreless streak to 252 minutes over a three-game stretch. With only three goals in their last five matches, things are not getting any easier for coach James O’Connor’s side as injuries to key players begin to mount.
“We want to create chances, we want to be an attacking team, and we want to score goals, and we are really, really close,” O’Connor said after his team’s loss in Atlanta. “We could not have asked any more of the players. When you look at the volume of chances that we have created, to get that level of chance creation and not capitalize is very, very frustrating for all of us.”
He’s not wrong. Orlando created the two best chances of the game, according to Opta’s expected goals calculations, and scored on neither of them. Dom Dwyer’s close-range attempt in the first half, palmed away by a sprawling Brad Guzan, was a chance registered about as high on the xG scale as a penalty kick.
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And yet, the shots just aren’t falling.
“I think we had three or four really good chances that you expect us to score maybe 80 or 90 percent of the time, but we did not take advantage of that,” said Lions forward Tesho Akindele after the game. “It is a bit frustrating, but you kind of have to just have that bounce-back mentality. We have another game coming on Wednesday, so we cannot just sit here in our frustration.”
Heading into a tough stretch of matches with a cross-country trip to Seattle on Wednesday (10:30 pm ET | TV and streaming info) ahead of home games against FC Cincinnati and the LA Galaxy over the next 11 days, O’Connor and his team can take some solace in knowing they created, statistically, better chances than resurgent Atlanta on Sunday.
“We understand there is another game Wednesday where a group of guys will get an opportunity, and then another big game back at home this Sunday,” said midfielder Will Johnson. “We executed our game plan exactly the way we wanted to, and we did enough to get something out of the game, but obviously we did not. It is now about somehow finding a way to continue to have performances like that, with a little more quality.”