Orlando City's upcoming friendly against Brazil's Ponte Preta has a lot of potential for some upside for the entirety of the team. With this game not counting towards the regular season tally, Orlando will have a lot of pressure lifted off of their shoulders for this home game. That being said, there's still quite a bit that the team can accomplish that could benefit them for the game next Friday against the New England Revolution.
Probably the biggest issue that has plagued the team has been the lack of goal scoring at home. The team is currently on a drought of approximately 235 minutes without a home goal, so this stat is one that Adrian Heath and company will look to change, even if it doesn't count towards their overall record.
As far as who will score that goal, expect it to be someone who mostly does not see the field very often. Aurélien Collin is out of the country working on visa related items, so he will not see the field at all. As we mentioned in our match preview yesterday, the majority of players that will play either see the pitch sparingly or not at all.
Those like Harrison Heath, Conor Donovan and Earl Edwards Jr. will most likely be big contributors in the game. This is great timing for these younger players, giving them a chance to play on the big stage of the Citrus Bowl, rather than just on the training pitch. There may even be some U-23 players in the mix, or even some trialists who make appearances.
Now, although there isn't much hype coming from this game due to most people having never heard of Ponte Preta, they are still a quality opponent. The oldest football club in Brazil's top flight, having been active 114 years, brings a team that consists of all Brazilian players, including new signing Humberlito Borges. Borges has a career that started in 2001 and has spanned 13 teams. The Brazilian striker has scored 141 goals in his career and is set to make his debut in Orlando.
This kind of experience for Orlando's younger players, playing against adept competition, can only help their career progress. With injuries piling up and international games coming up, these players need this kind of experience in order to be effective when these instances happen.
For fans who go to the game today, you will see some debuts from many players and hopefully, if all goes well, a goal scored at home.