A sudden lineup change and adapting to a solid mindset may have played a part in Orlando City’s 2-1 victory over New York City FC on Sunday night at Camping World Stadium.
Orlando captain Ricardo Kaka scored two goals to lead the Lions to victory but for head coach Jason Kreis, his stance on going against his former club, and eventually defeating them, remained the same.
It was just another game.
“For me the most important thing tonight was the performance, not necessary the scoreline or anything else,” said Kreis. “I’m seeing continuous improvement at how we’re defending, and it’s pleasing, it was certainly not a perfect night, and we are after perfect.”
Prior to Sunday’s game, Kreis employed a different type of lineup. 19-year-old Tommy Redding, who normally plays at center back, was inserted at right back.
Kreis praised the Oviedo-native defender for his contributions at right back, which lasted 56 minutes before being substituted out for veteran defender Kevin Alston.
“Tommy did an admirable job out there,” Kreis said. “The decision to start Tommy is simply due to the fact that [Kevin] Alston has played a ton of minutes, and he literally looked like he was going to die at the end of last game, so I wanted to rest him and give him a bit of a break.”
Redding soon said after the game that playing an unfamiliar role didn’t quite put him out of his comfort zone. It was more about putting his team first and logging-in some minutes.
“It was different for me, but I was happy to get out there and play for 55 minutes of the game,” said Redding. “I’m a born and bred center back, but if the coach wants me at a right back, I’ll play right back as often as he needs me to.”
The Lions are going through an improvement process, according to Kreis. While Orlando City played to its traditional 4-2-3-1 formation, Kreis credits the boost of confidence to his team’s performance.
“Today was a special game for us and for our staff, because Jason came from that team, so we had a lot of motivation for the game,” said Kaka. “Congratulations for us, we needed and we deserved that.”
The Lions are going through an improvement process, and they won’t reach perfection overnight, but if the team goes on to perform the same way it did during last night’s game, perfection might be closer than expected.