LAFC (n) Match Preview
Orlando City faces their toughest test yet as they face off against last year's MLS Supporter Shield winners in the quarterfinals of the MLS is Back tournament.
Sorry for how long it took to post this preview. I've been very busy this week with organizing my new apartment. Anyone who has moved house before knows just how long and frustrating that process can be. I'm happy to be done with the process though and now I can finally sit down and write about tonight's match. Let's get into my three keys.
1. Uri Rosell
I've been saying it for a few weeks now but Uri Rosell is so important to how we play, both offensively and defensively. When we have possession, he is always an option for our defenders to play the ball to and when he gets the ball, he makes sure he keeps it. Throughout the entire tournament, Uri Rosell has managed to only misplace 20 passes in four games. Half of those came against Inter Miami. And it's not as though he's not attempting a lot of passes. No, he's attempted 243. He has an overall pass completion percentage of 91.7%. That's insane.
Defensively, Rosell is just as important. He provides a solid defensive base behind our five more attacking-minded players. He makes tackles, interceptions, and clearances. He's also got impressive defensive positioning and has a high tactical IQ. It's a shame he hadn't been used in this role for the last couple of seasons. He would've been so good with the likes of Yotun next to him.
In the upcoming LAFC match, Rosell will need to have an amazing night if we are to come out with the win. LAFC plays with a high press that many teams struggle to cope with because they don't have a Rosell-type defensive midfielder. Players like Uri are usually known as "press-resistant" players because they're smart enough to always be an option for a pass for the defenders and technical enough to turn and find the open man to start an attack.
Uri is also important to our defense because we are dealing with the best offense in the league tonight. Rosell will have to be making key interceptions and tackles in the midfield in order to help keep their offense at bay. It's a lot of pressure to put on one player but if there is any player in our squad who can succeed with that pressure, it's Uri.
2. Our offense needs to finish our chances
Ever since the NYCFC game, our offense has struggled to finish off its chances. While in the Philly game, Andre Blake stood on his head, the Montreal match was much more frustrating. Pereyra, Mendez, and Mueller all should have had goals and that's not counting the wrong offside call. Meanwhile, LAFC's defense has not been very good. That's mainly down to how exposed their defenders get when the midfield and attack leave their defensive positions in order to high-press.
LAFC has conceded a total of eight goals in four matches this tournament while our offense has scored a total of seven. There will be goals for us in this match. We just need to finish off the chances that we create. If we can do that, we definitely have a chance of winning.
3. Gallese needs to have another big game
LAFC is going to get shots off, no matter what we do. In this tournament, they are averaging 21 shots per game and 7.25 shots on target per game. While we are probably the best defense they will have faced to date, they are still going to test our goalkeeper. Gallese is going to have to have another NYCFC-esque performance if we are going to get the dub.
Time: 7:30 PM EST
Where to Watch: FS1, UniMás, FOX Deportes, FOX Sports app, TUDN app, TSN in Canada
Stadium: ESPN Wide World of Sports
Team News (ORL): Dwyer (out), Urso (questionable)
Team News (PHI): Diomande (out), Perez (questionable), Silva (questionable)
Predicted Lineup: (4-2-3-1) Gallese, Ruan, Carlos, Jansson, Moutinho, Mendez, Rosell, Mueller, Pereyra, Nani, Akindele
Score Prediction: 2-1 Win
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'Til next time, this has been Gavin Rushnell and #VamosOrlando