The Whitecaps fell 3-1 at home to Toronto FC in their opener on March 7, taking the lead on Octavio Rivero's goal, only to see Jozy Altidore (twice) and Robbie Findley respond for the visitors. Vancouver played better than the score line indicates and pressured Toronto, especially early.
The Caps bounced back in Week 2, beating the Chicago Fire on the road, 1-0, on another Rivero goal. The final score line might be a bit flattering to the Fire considering how Vancouver dominated the second half.
Orlando City is coming off the club's first win in Major League Soccer, a 1-0 road victory over the Houston Dynamo. The Lions were the better side all night, but it took a bad touch by Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric to set up Orlando's score. Under heavy pressure from second-half sub Pedro Ribeiro, Deric flubbed a touch, then saw Ribeiro block his clearing attempt.
As the ball ricocheted back toward the Dynamo net, Ribeiro rushed past, only to have Deric try to tackle him. Failing that, the Houston keeper had a choice to either let Ribeiro score or do it himself. He chose the latter, punching the ball into his own goal.
The Lions have allowed only one shot on goal through two matches, but Vancouver brings a much bigger threat than the Dynamo or New York City FC. The Whitecaps are a dangerous counter-attacking team and so possession and avoiding turnovers will be at a premium.
Similarly, Kekuta Manneh and Rivero will present an entirely different challenge for the right side of Orlando's defense. Manneh leads the league in chances created from open play with seven through two games.
However, look for the Lions to try to exploit the middle of Vancouver's defense, where central midfield and the central defenders have not communicated well through two games. The Whitecaps have yielded way too many chances through two games.
Another big crowd is expected at the Citrus Bowl tonight -- in excess of 24,000. They will want to see Orlando City's first home victory in MLS, and, if the club can overcome a stomach bug that's been ravaging the locker room and a rash of injuries, perhaps they'll get it.
Here's your required reading/listening to get ready for tonight's match:
- Andrew M's Match Preview will prep you for the game
- Andrew H did a Scouting Report on Vancouver earlier in the week
- The latest PawedCast features Eighty Six Forever writer Jorge Mendoza
- Our Intelligence Report on the Whitecaps, with Eighty Six Forever manager Mark Daily
Orlando City (4-2-3-1):
Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts
Defense: Brek Shea, Seb Hines, Aurelien Collin, Rafael Ramos
Defensive Midfielders: Amobi Okugo, Darwin Cerén
Attacking Midfielders: Eric Avila, Kaká, Kevin Molino
Forward: Pedro Ribeiro
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Luke Boden, , , Tony Cascio, Cyle Larin
Vancouver Whitecaps (4-2-3-1):
Goalkeeper: David Ousted
Defense: Sam Adekugbe, Diego Rodriguez, Kendall Waston, Steven Beitashour
Defensive Midfielders:, Matias Laba
Attacking Midfielders: Kekuta Manneh, Pedro Morales, Nicolás Mezquida
Forward: Octvio Rivero
Bench: Paolo Tornaghi, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey, Darren Mattocks, Erik Hurtado,
How to Watch:
Match time: 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Orlando Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL
TV: My65 locally, Sun Sports throughout Florida, and TSN1 in Canada
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 AM (Spanish)
Streaming: MLS Live
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