Orlando City face-off against interstate rivals Inter Miami for the second time.
Hey, y'all. I'm back (finally). I never got around to writing the review for the MLS is Back final because I've just been so busy since the final. I've started working again, I've added another pet to my bunch, and I've been helping my girlfriend move into her apartment. It's been a lot but I still should've gotten the content out for you guys so I apologize.
My basic review of the final is that we lacked the experience that was necessary to win the match. Adam and I debated it on the Portland Timbers Review podcast so you can find a more in-depth conversation there, but basically, I believe that as a team we lacked the experience and it showed in how Portland's two goals came about. We switched off, something you can never do in a final, and they took full advantage of it. Plus, they've lost a final recently and that experience was definitely fresh in their minds throughout the duration of this game.
Now, onto the Miami preview. I'm not sure why but I'm nervous. It's Miami's first time playing in their home stadium and they will definitely be up for the match. Meanwhile, we are coming off a momentum-killing defeat in the final of the MLS is Back tournament. While there are definite reasons to be confident (better match fitness, Matuidi's absence), I can't shake the feeling that this match will be tougher than it looks on paper.
Daniel said it on the preview podcast and he couldn't have been more right. We need to be patient tonight. Like I said earlier, this is Miami's first match at their new stadium. This is also a chance to kickstart their debut season against their interstate rivals. Miami will definitely be up for this game. Where patience comes into play is when you look at the match fitness levels. Our first team played seven games, the last of which was on August 11th, only 11 days ago. Miami, on the other hand, only played three games, the last of which was on July 20th.
This means that our players are in way better shape than Miami's and we need to take advantage of that. The way to do that is to play the long game. Play smart in the first half and conserve energy. In the second half, you start to really push forward as their legs get tired. I'm obviously not saying we shouldn't attempt to score early on but I feel that we need to not overexert ourselves and let in a stupid goal. Diego Alonso is a smart coach and he will know of his side's lack of fitness. He will want to score early on so his side can control the game so he can keep his team's energy levels as high as possible. It's definitely going to be interesting to see how both teams handle the fitness disparity.
2. All eyes on Tesho
After a few disappointing performances in the later stages of the MLS is Back tournament, all eyes will be on our starting striker Tesho Akindele. We obviously just brought in Matheus Aias as competition for the starting spot but he will not be available for a few weeks due to the need to quarantine and then get integrated into the squad. With the new guy coming in, Tesho will be looking over his shoulder now. Tesho will know that in order to keep his place in the starting Xl, he'll need to perform at a high level. Aias' transfer could be the jolt Tesho needed to raise his performances. Keep an eye on him today.
3. Expect the unexpected
Alonso has now seen his team play five times and, while they didn't win a single one of them, they never looked terrible. I think Alonso will have made a subtle switch over the last couple of weeks that will help his team perform better against us. Don't forget, they got to see our style of play a lot more than we got to see there's. Again, we played seven games recently and they only played three. They have more information on us than we have on them. Expect Alonso to do something unexpected.
Time: 8:00 PM EST
Where to Watch: Fox 35 Plus, ESPN+ (out-of-market)
Stadium: Inter Miami CF Stadium
Team News (ORL): Dwyer (out), Aias (unavailable)
Team News (MIA): Acosta (out), Matuidi (unavailable), Norman Jr. (out), Ulysse (out)
Predicted Lineup: (4-2-3-1) Gallese, Ruan, Carlos, Jansson, Moutinho, Mendez, Rosell, Mueller, Pereyra, Nani, Akindele
Score Prediction: 2-1 Win
If you liked what you read, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Please don't hesitate to let me know your thoughts on what I said. I really do enjoy having conversations with my fellow Orlando City fans about our team. That's why I started this blog/podcast in the first place.
'Til next time, this has been Gavin Rushnell and #VamosOrlando