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The saying is to forget what happened in the last game and focus on the next one. But Orlando City can’t just ignore last week, even though the New England Revolution are on tap for Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. home match.
The Lions led D.C. United 1-0 only to give up goals in stoppage time. Instead of coming home with a win and the 3 points, they had a goose egg and failed to create separation as the fifth-place team in the MLS East (8-9-6, 30 points).
“The biggest lesson we take from that is we got to keep focus until the final whistle,” said defender Antonio Carlos, who recently returned from a high left hamstring injury. “We conceded both goals after the 90th minute. In my eyes that’s completely unacceptable.”
Orlando City can’t afford any more giveaways. Although the Revolution are six spots back in 11th place, they trail the Lions by just 3 points (6-7-9, 27 points).
A win at Exploria Stadium would boost the Revolution to 30 points, too.
“We were controlling the match and they weren’t getting any chances,” Lions defender João Moutinho said of the D.C. United contest. “We lost focus. The first goal, it shook us a little bit.”
Orlando played to a 1-1 draw with New England on June 15 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Lions defender Robin Jansson scored his first goal of the season in the match.
The Revs have two of the more creative offensive players in the league in Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou. No lead against the Revolution is safe.
“We know them pretty well. They’re very good players that can change the pace of a game in a second,” Moutinho said. “Carles likes to get on the ball and has that amazing left foot. We have to be on top of him.
“Gustavo has a really good shot and likes to hit it from pretty much anywhere. We can’t give those guys any space.”
The only team that six-win D.C. beat last month was Orlando City — twice. United, which won 5-3 on July 4 in Exploria Stadium, gave up 7 goals in a loss to Philadelphia and 3 in losing to Charlotte. Maybe it’s a matter of playing down to the opposition, but the Lions find themselves in a tough spot.
“Now that we’re sitting in fifth, it’s a little more important for us to get three points so we’re going to treat every game as a final,” Carlos said.
“We have a saying back home in Brazil where after the 90th minute we’re winning, we got to puncture the ball. Make sure the game ends.”