Orlando City terminates contract with Head Coach James O’Connor

James O’Connor – Orlando City Head Coach at his final press conference in charge of the club – 6th October 2019 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

Rumours that James O’Connor would be leaving Orlando City circulated during the club’s final game of the season against Chicago Fire yesterday and this morning, they have been confirmed.

O’Connor has been in charge since 2nd July 2018 and in that time he took a team with the worst defensive record in Major League Soccer (MLS), conceding 74 goals in 34 games in the 2018 season and made them harder to beat.

The popular Irishman took charge of 17 MLS games in 2018 and the full season of 34 games in 2019 before the axe fell. In that time, he won 11 games, drew 13 and lost 27.

Taking over from Jason Kreis and a team in crisis, O’Connor immediately spotted the deficiencies of the team and attempted to rectify the defensive side of the team. It is much to his credit that he led the team to conceding the fewest goals it has ever conceded in an MLS season with 52 goals against during the 2019 campaign. A record that could have been significantly better had the team not conceded five goals to Chicago in its final game yesterday.

James O’Connor – Orlando City Head Coach thanking fans for their support during the 2019 season – 6th October 2019 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

O’Connor now leaves with many fans pondering what is coming next from team ownership. Five years of failure is the true story from the ownership group and it has now seen the sacking of three coaches in that time as first Adrian Heath was sacked, then Jason Kreis and now O’Connor.

Many fans had hoped O’Connor would have been given at least another season to establish his credentials given he inherited a real mess in terms of the contracts given to some players under Kreis. Sadly, it is not to be and we can only wish James O’Connor and his family all the best for the future.

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