On June 6, the Orlando City Lions traveled to
Bridgeview Chicago for a glorious three points earned in a 3-2 MLS win in the midst of a five-game unbeaten streak. The past two and a half months have seen City go through its share of ups and downs, and now we welcome the Fire to the City Beautiful to put a stop to this winless streak that is fast approaching five games.
What did we learn from the first league match with Chicago, and how can we capitalize this Saturday?
Chicago's Counter is Really, Really Quick
Leading into that first match -- much like this one -- we were preparing for the speed and skill of David Accam, who had been on quite the tear leading into the meeting.
As it turns out, the entire club has the speed and skill to lethally strike on the counter attack, highlighted best here as Accam scores following a scary breakaway to set the Fire loose.
Notice how quickly the support comes for the lead on the breakaway. It will be important for Orlando to understand this threat, especially when missing speedy Rafael Ramos' ability to track back.
Passing with a Purpose Goes a Long Way
The Lions were their in-form, accurate ball movement selves in this one, reflected by their 85% team passing rate, but most importantly were the 10 key passes. This is a team that's been known to sit on the ball without aggressively attacking, and passes that set up the receiver are one of the quickest ways to get that aggressive attack rolling.
It will be important for the XI that are healthy and available to be in sync on the attack, or this will be a long day.
Aurélien Collin Needs to be Influential
The Pitbull was a force in June, returning from a bum hammy to ignite an Orlando defense that was in need. On top of his usual hard-nosed, all-hustle style that led to five tackles, four interceptions, nine clearances and three blocked shots (just shy of the beloved defensive 4x4), Collin took it upon himself to point the ship in the right direction offensively.
Collin showed no fear dribbling into the midfield, completing 81.3% of his 75 passes, including eight accurate long balls, pressing forward and, in turn, forcing the rest of the attack to press forward as well.
Look for Collin to impose his will early in this one, setting the tone for what is sure to be a raucous crowd at the Citrus Bowl this weekend.