A six-match winning streak seemed to signal a new beginning, an Orlando City SC team that could make a playoff run for the first time in its four-season MLS history. Then abruptly, Orlando City’s fortunes turned.
After a subsequent six-match losing streak, the club announced Friday that it was parting ways with coach Jason Kreis. Assistant coach Bob Murphy will serve as the interim leader as Orlando City opens its coaching search.
Kreis, a former Real Salt Lake player and coach, led RSL to two MLS Cup finals in his seven-year stint in Sandy, winning it in 2009 and coming up short in penalty kicks in 2013. He left to coach NYCFC, but was fired after the club’s 10-17-7 inaugural season. Kreis joined Orlando City midway through the 2016 season. This past offseason, he and the front office set out to reimagine Orlando City SC’s roster, bringing in 14 new players.
“For me,” Kreis told The Salt Lake Tribune last month, “at the end of this offseason was the first time I could say with a straight face and hand over heart that this is now our team.”
At the time, Orlando City had won five straight, already tied for the longest streak in club history. The team would notch its sixth against Real Salt Lake and then sink into a slump while facing teams scattered all throughout the standings.
“This is a very difficult decision to take, but sometimes in sports we must make tough decisions with the best future of the organization in mind,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said in a team release. “I have enormous respect for Jason and the work his team did in Orlando. He arrived in a difficult moment and is leaving with a legacy of respect and professionalism.”
Mexico, with ample MLS ties, upsets Germany
LAFC designated player Carlos Vela was stunning. Former Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio was crafty. Mexico beat Germany 1-0 Sunday in FIFA World Cup group play.
Mexico’s ties to MLS went beyond its coach and central attacking midfielder, too. While the Galaxy’s Giovnai and Jonathan dos Santos didn’t see the field, Carlos Salcedo saw 90 minutes at right back to become the first RSL Academy product to play in a World Cup. Former New York Red bulls designated player Rafa Marquez came off the bench to become the third man in history to play in five World Cups.
MLS representation in the World Cup
As the World Cup began this past week, 19 players spread across six different teams represented MLS. Costa Rica and Panama carried the most MLS players on their rosters, with six each. Mexico (3), Peru (2), Egypt (1) and Sweden (1) also sported rosters with MLS talent.
1. Atlanta United (Last week: 1) • Atlanta used a 2-0 win over Columbus Wednesday to gain a four-point lead in the Supporters Shield race.
2. New York City FC (2) • NYCFC had a bye due to the MLS World Cup break.
3. Sporting Kansas City (3) • SKC did not play any league matches due to the international break.
4. New York Red Bulls (4) • Bradley Wright-Phillips continued to impress, scoring the game-winner in a 2-1 win over Seattle.
5. Los Angeles FC (5) • LAFC had the week off.
6. Columbus Crew SC (6) • The Crew’s unbeaten streak ended at nine matches as it fell to Atlanta.
7. Portland Timbers (7) • Portland did not play any league matches.
8. FC Dallas (8) • Dallas had the week off.
9. Toronto FC (9) • Toronto came back from a three-goal deficit to earn a point against D.C. United.
10. Houston (10) • Houston got a break from league play for the World Cup.