Orlando City hasn't had the best of times the last few weeks. Coming off a big win against Columbus Crew SC, the Lions dropped a bad game in Toronto and drew at home against the Philadelphia Union, one of the teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference table. Now the team heads into a match-up against one of the Western Conference's perennial powerhouses, the Seattle Sounders.
Although Seattle hasn't had the best run of it lately, much like Orlando, the Sounders have been bitten hard by the injury bug. Most of their top players, like Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey, have missed significant time over the past month. However, the Sounders have just made some big signings before the transfer window closed and some of the new players could make their debut's tomorrow afternoon against Orlando.
In the Lions' case, their play the last few games hasn't been up to par and this nationally televised game is the perfect opportunity to turn it all around. However, in order to pull a result out of CenturyLink Field, a few Orlando players need to step up to the proverbial plate and have a good showing tomorrow.
Having come off a record-tying performance against Columbus, Larin has been almost a non factor these last two games. He has the ability to cause defenses problems, but he hasn't taken advantage of it as much as he should be. With Seattle's back line currently banged up, the rookie needs to be a constant threat for the Lions. This doesn't necessarily mean he needs to score, mind you. He just needs to be relentless when it comes to pressuring the ball and being in good positions to create chances for his teammates.
Orlando City vs. Seattle Sounders: Match Preview, Starting XIs, Predictions and More
After a disappointing draw against the Philadelphia Union, Orlando City heads to one of the toughest road environments in MLS for a matchup with Seattle Sounders FC. Will Orlando improve their form against a Seattle team that hasn't won in over a month?
David Mateos and Adrian Winter
I've grouped both of Orlando's new acquisitions into one because both of them need to play big roles in this game. Although Winter played 15 minutes last weekend, that really isn't enough to get a good gauge on his overall play on the pitch. Head Coach Adrian Heath said that both Winter and Mateos will most likely play tomorrow, meaning they will be the team's X-Factors. Seattle may not be prepared for both new Lions since neither of them have played in MLS until now. If one or both of them start, they could make or break the chances of winning for Orlando, depending on how they play.
The team captain had a forgettable game last week against Philly and didn't seem like his usual self on the pitch. Possibly still hampered by his injured ankle, Kaká needs to help control the tempo of this game tomorrow and allow Orlando to maintain possession. Looking back at when Orlando was winning games, Kaká was orchestrating the offense, and with that, goals came. Last week, Philly was able to shut down Ricky and thereby shut down Orlando's offense. Kaká needs to make it a point to get the ball and get back to being the maestro of the Lions that they so desperately lacked these past two games.
If you think there's something that the team needs to do tomorrow and I didn't mention it, let us know in the comments below!