- Matthew Laboissonniere
FC Cincinnati Match Preview
Ok, can someone say BOUNCE BACK GAME IN ALL CAPS? Don’t worry. if you won’t, I will. But in all seriousness, this game is the perfect opportunity for the Lions to get back in their home stadium, come back HARD, and get a win. After a forgettable 90 mins vs the Fire in Chicago, the Lions have a lot of steam they need to blow off. Early press and counter press was favorable for the visitors early, but this sustained pressure eventually died out. The Lions scored (kinda?) late in the second half before it was taken away from a long VAR review which concluded that Kara handball in the buildup play. The Lions and Fire split the points and walked away with a draw.
What was so frustrating for Lions fans is that they know what this team is capable of. The defense has looked solid in the opening games, with 2 straight shutouts and different combinations of backlines. Gallese looks in control of his unit from in between the pipes as well. We’ve seen a center midfield overall perform solid, and the potential in the attack is truly the make or break of the year. But there’s a reason why in European football, you sometimes see managers put out very strong lineups in seemingly meaningless cup games against lower divisions: it’s a perfect opportunity to bury their throats in and establish offensive chemistry. With that said, let’s beat up on Cincinnati, who have conceded 6 goals in 2 games.
Orlando City Stats 1-0-1, Top Goal Scorer: Pato/Michel, Top Assister: Ruan/Pereyra, DWLWD
FC Cincinnati Stats 0-2-0, Top Goal Scorer: N/A, Top Assister: N/A, LLLLL
1. Throw Stuff in the Pot and see what works
I am not worried about the defense in this game. They’ve given me no reason to worry yet and I’m not going to start worrying now. Brenner and Acosta are guys you have to keep an eye on though. They combined for 15 goals last season and Acosta’s ability to create on his right foot is worth noting. But for this point I’m really referring to the offense. We’re talking about an FC Cincinnati that conceded 74 goals last season. That’s one less than the league record, which, oh yeah, THEY ALSO HOLD. These guys basically leak goals in the back and we have an offense capable of putting them away. Have Pato checking too with Torres and Michel making runs in behind. Get Pereyra on the ball and spray shots when possible. A 1-0 win Saturday is going to feel like a loss if this offense can’t start to build rhythm.
2. Test of our possession
I did some digging on Pat Noonan and his style of play. Based on a lot of his stuff in the press, he’s going to approach this similarly to his time with the Philadelphia Union with the diamond formation in midfield. The press is going to be ridiculous, to keep it frank. Against Austin FC, I suspect Austin was able to pass quickly and break lines and that’s how they pounded them for 5 goals. Orlando is going to have to possess and quickly, because the press they are known for could become a taste of their own medicine.
3. Establish Home Field
Home Court, Home Field, Home Pitch, whatever you want to say. Good opportunity on Saturday for the Lions to make Exploria Stadium an arena that fans and players from opposition clubs do not want to step foot in. The atmosphere of being a visiting club at a home stadium was definitely noticeable on Saturday vs the Fire. The fans were loud, energetic, and got behind a Fire team who was less talented than the Lions. The energy in the opener vs Montreal was amazing and clearly helped put some wind behind the sails of tired Orlando players, who put together a very strong second half. Get another win at home, improve to 2-0-1 and undefeated in 3 games, and it’s a very strong start to the season.
A Look at FC Cincinnati
~ 4-1-2-1-2 formation most likely to be used, with one central attacking midfielder and two forwards on either side of him
~ Lost 5-0 to Austin FC and 1-0 to DC United
~ Acosta and Brenner main spark points in the offense, combining for 15 goals last season while Acosta was seventh in MLS in chances created (78) and fourth in successful dribbles (86)
~ Alec Kann new keeper signing, should help bail out a sloppy defense
Score Prediction: 2-0 Orlando. Should be a simple clean win. I don’t expect the press from Cincinnati to bother them too much. Expect a lot of good possession and some offensive chemistry to start ticking. Vamos!