Orlando has been winning a bit as of late, with the help of Facundo Torres. Now, they are going to try and get two road wins in a row as they travel to Charlotte this Sunday to take on Charlotte FC at 7pm. There has been some movement in the Eastern Conference Standings in the past couple weeks. The Lions, who at once were as high as Top 4, are now sitting at 7th right at the playoff line. Recent positive performances from teams like the Revolution and Toronto FC have put some pressure on Orlando. Charlotte sit 10th right now, and are about to get aggressive as they try to sneak into the playoff picture. I got a feeling this one is going to be a slowburn.
Orlando City Stats
9-10-6, Top Scorer: Kara, Top Assister: Pereyra, WLLWL
Charlotte FC Stats
10-14-2, Top Goal Scorer: Swiderski, Top Assister: Bender, WLLWL
1. Take Advantage of Their Midweek Game
Charlotte had a midweek game against NYCFC on Wednesday, and Orlando got to have a full week's worth of rest, almost 8 days in between games. July was a very packed month for the Lions but now things are starting to open up more with the US Open Cup on the horizon. It could be easy pickings for rest Orlando players to take advantage of a beaten down Charlotte team, but when have the Lions ever made anything easy this year? Run them into the ground and it could open up lots of opportunities for the boys.
2. Where the hell are our forwards?
Was Kara actually a real person who played for us or was that a figment of my imagination? It feels like he has not played for Orlando in forever. In the meantime, we’ve tried a bunch of different methods up top to get going. We’ve been using Benji Michel as a 9 for his pace, but his lack of link up play and technical ability is super frustrating to me. Pato has sat in that central area, but he suffered an injury against the Red Bulls and is unlikely to make an appearance. Pereyra is not a goal scorer, but Facundo has stepped up in recent times and may be hitting peak form with Orlando. Basically, we will continue to struggle to score goals if we don’t have our top forward options ready and creativity and depth from the wingers. Crazy fact of the season: Kara is still our leading goal scorer despite being gone for a while.
3. Making a Final Push
It’s crunch time now in the Eastern Conference like I mentioned above. Orlando now sits in 7th place, right below the Revolution, who have climbed there all the way from 10th after a slow start to the season. Charlotte are right below them in 10th and another surging team like Toronto is right below them at 11th. Soccer has one major shift in the final stretch of the season. At the beginning, it is all about playing well and finding a style of play. Towards the end of the season, it’s all about getting results. At this point, Orlando needs to be getting points as often as they can and secure a place in the playoffs. All road matches you need to be pushing for at least a draw. Stealing a win this Sunday would be a great start to this final trek of the season.
A Look at Charlotte FC
~ sitting in 10th in the Eastern Conference Standings looking to make a push
~ both sides coming off wins against New York teams!
~ Swiderski is the main man to worry about up top, leads the team with 8 goals
~ tied for 10th in goals conceded in the league while giving up the 6th most shots, if the Lions can capitalize it could be a good day in the office
~ Charlotte do not create a lot of chances but they capitalize on the little ones they have
This screams 1-1 draw for me. I think Orlando is the better team, but will struggle on the road with low bodies up top against a team playing on their home field. Charlotte will get a goal and most likely try to park the bus, while Orlando pushes for a winner. Time to get two road wins in a row! Vamos!