Colorado Rapids (a) Match Preview
Orlando City will travel to Colorado for their first road test of the season.
The Nani-less Orlando City will play against the high-flying Colorado Rapids in Colorado this Saturday. A tough game is expected for the men in purple as the Colorado Rapids will be looking to make it 7 wins in 9 under head coach Robin Fraser. In the Rapids short amount of time with their new head coach, they have won all three of their home games by a combined margin of 7-1. It's not that far-fetched to say that the Lions will have their work cut out for them.
One of the biggest reasons why Orlando comes into this game as the underdog is the absence of Luis Nani. While chances were still created without him on the pitch, we all saw that no one was able to put them in the back of the net last time out. Throughout his career, Nani has mainly been used as the creator but he has really taken up the role of goalscorer here in Orlando. Without him, our goalscoring options become very limited very fast.
To supplement his absence, I am expecting a very counter-attacking approach from Oscar Pareja. We may see Benji get a start as the central striker to make those dangerous runs in behind. With Pereyra feeding him those over-the-top through balls, Michel could cause Colorado some real problems in defense. The problem is, that is our main goal threat.
The only other real threat we may pose will be off of set pieces. The tallest person who started in their back four against DC United on Saturday was 6'0. With Carlos and Jansson coming it at 6'3 and 6'2 respectively, we need to take advantage of their lack of height. If Orlando does score a goal on Saturday, don't be surprised if it comes off a set-piece.
This game will be a very good test to see if our defense can live up to the hype. While I was mightily impressed with their performance against Real Salt Lake, they weren't really put under too much pressure. That won't be the case in Colorado. When the Rapids turn up the heat, they can really push a team back and not allow them any space to get out of their own half. We saw this in the final 10 minutes against DC United last weekend and it resulted in an injury-time goal. I will be very surprised if we don't see that sort of high press again on Saturday. How Oscar Pareja copes with it will be imperative to any potential success we could have in this game.
Time: 9:00 PM EST
Stadium: Dick's Sporting Goods Park
Injuries/Suspensions (ORL): Luis Nani (suspended), Dom Dwyer (lower-body), Rosell (questionable)
Injuries/Suspensions (COL): Nicolas Benezet (available), Kortne Ford (knee)
Predicted Lineup: Gallese, Ruan, Carlos, Jansson, Miller, Urso (c), Mendez, Robinho, Pereyra, Mueller, Michel
Score Prediction: 1-1 draw
'Til next time, this has been Gavin Rushnell and #VamosOrlando