(Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)
ORLANDO, Fla. – So far in the month of May, Orlando City SC has not won a match. After an unprecedented 6-1-0 start, capped off by a 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on April 29, the Lions have posted an 0-2-2 record.
For some players, like right-back Scott Sutter, that wasn’t even a thought. The flurry of what amounts to eight games in approximately one month is difficult to reflect on for the London, England, native.
“I didn’t actually know that until you said that, that we haven’t won in the month of May,” Sutter said after training Friday. “As you know, the games have been coming thick and fast, so you kinda really just got time to think about that game and reflect shortly on that game once it’s passed.”
Said midfielder Will Johnson on if he thinks about not having a win in May yet: “No, we take every game one game at a time, and we try to win that game. Obviously we’ve put in some good shifts and haven’t gotten the results… Every game’s unique. Every game’s different. We’ve got the opportunity to earn three points on Sunday, and it doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
There is at least one person on the Orlando City squad that thinks about the lack of a win in May, though: head coach Jason Kreis. The Lions’ hot start to the season has made both him and his squad “hungry” for more.
“It is something we were just talking about before the session that now it’s been four games without a win,” Kreis said after training Friday. “We’re very hungry for the next one. I think that’s one of the nice things about getting out to a really good start and getting those wins under your belt is that you get a real taste for it, and when you go a few games without it, you start to be real hungry for it.”
Now with Orlando City returning home for its final match of their second-consecutive stretch of three games in eight days against New York City FC, there is a sense of tempered confidence. Not only have the Lions posted an undefeated 5-0-1 record at home so far, but they have also won the previous two matchups against NYCFC in matches at home and in the Big Apple.
But NYCFC is coming off a 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake, and Johnson knows the kind of motivation the fellow Eastern Conference team will have.
“It’s a challenge. Every time that you beat a team, it gets harder to do it again and again,” Johnson said at training Friday. “…So this’ll be harder than both of [the previous games], so we’re gonna have to be perfect. They are coming off a bad result. They will be motivated. They will be ready to go in a major way, and, if we’re not ourselves and not willing to put in the work and be good and disciplined, we won’t get the results.”
Said Sutter on the expected intensity from NYCFC: “I think they’ll be fired up in a different sense. They won’t be full of confidence after the last result, but we know how it is after a loss. You definitely wanna show the action, and I think they’ll definitely be gunning for us, and it’s just our job to keep them at bay and just play like how we know how to play at home.”
City hosts NYCFC on Sunday at 7 p.m.