I’ve been on spring break for this past week in Nashville and it’s been a pretty decent time. The only thing that genuinely sucked about it (besides leaving) was thinking about how Orlando City actually kicked the bucket vs Cincinnati. I really hope it’s not a testament going forward to how we’re going to play. Maybe we need to swallow our pride though. Maybe, just maybe, we aren’t that good yet? It’s still a fresh time in the Pareja project. We’ve brought in new members of an attack that we expect to get going instantly and it’s proven that it’s not that easy yet. But there is no time greater than the present to get back in the W column, and that new challenge comes this Saturday at 3:30 pm vs LA Galaxy.
I don’t know if it's the ghost of David Beckham that makes me think this team is always amazing, but maybe I’m living in the past. The most successful team in MLS history has only made the playoffs once in the past 5 seasons but they are bound for a bounceback. What works for the Galaxy is the name itself: Los Angeles. They’re in the sunshine 365 days a year, attracting European talent from all across the globe. Chicharito had an amazing season last year and we know what he’s capable of. In addition, the Galaxy acquired big-name player Douglas Costa this offseason, who I truly believe never reached his full potential in Europe. He could RUN over the MLS this season. Lack of consistency has been the Galaxy’s issue and the glory of former European talent may not be enough to carry them through.
Orlando City Stats
1-1-1, Top Goal Scorer: Pato/Michel/Urso, Top Assister: Ruan/Pereyra, Torres, LDWLW
LA Galaxy Stats
2-1-0, Top Goal Scorer: Chicharito, Top Assister: Edwards, LWWDD
1. I am worried about the defense this game
The title of this section is a funny little callback to my FC Cincinnati preview, where I said I was not worried about the defense of this game because they had given me “no reason to worry and I’m not going to start worrying now.” I’m worrying now. LA Galaxy are really a double sided coin. When in possession, they are fantastic. Picking passes all across the field, strength in the midfield and defense, as well as a free flowing front 3 which is going to consist of Chicharito, Costa, and Cabral. Once that gets clicking, it could very well be the best front 3 in the league. Orlando let 2 goals squeak by them against Cincinnati and they are not a strong attacking team by any means. This is a real test for the defense. Against a very strong attacking team on the road.
2. Pareja: Make the Call
On a very similar note, the difference in our season in Orlando is if we can get our front 3 to click as well. Pareja needs to find out what the best front 3 or attacking core is for this team, whatever you want to call it. Torres seems to have made his case for a starting position on the right hand side. He likes to float and get on the ball, but his creative ability is something you can just see. However, ability and production are two different things. An assist in the last game is a promising start. I think Pato should start up top and maybe give Michel another look on the left hand side. He was great when he came on vs Cincinatti but was poor against the Fire. If you start him now, it may be the decider on whether he’s an impact sub or the winger on the left.
3. Exploit the Galaxy in transition
The main downfall of the Galaxy is not their lack of talent, but their lack of discipline. You can only go as far as you’re willing to work. The issue that LA Galaxy head coach Vanney faced was when his team lost the ball, they were sloppy and unorganized in their transition to defense. Orlando pressed and counterpressed very effectively vs Montreal in the season opener and that could be the key on Saturday. If our front 3 can pressure the Galaxy and cause turnovers in their defensive third, possession could fall into our lap in interesting positions. The Galaxy cannot decide what their defensive formation is and I want them to be very confused on Saturday. Our opportunities may come few and far between and we need to make them count.
A Look at the Galaxy
~ Possession dominant and patient with the ball, will look to carve teams apart
~ 4-3-3 in attack, have trouble shifting between attack and defense in their formation and could leave spaces for Orlando to react
~ New signing Douglas Costa and bagsman Chicharito main weapons to be concerned with ~ Beat defending champ NYCFC and Charlotte 1-0, lost to Seattle 3-2
I think Galaxy win this one 2-1. We’ll get a goal, but I doubt our defense will be able to withstand the pressure they will see between the Galaxy’s front 3. Pressure is on Galaxy to perform right now and they’ll see it through. With that said, I hope I’m wrong. Vamos!