Orlando City comes into tonight's match-up with the Philadelphia Union on a rough streak that has seen the Lions drop four of their last five matches and giving up 16 goals in those five matches, With the transfer window closed and Orlando City having added David Mateos, Adrian Winter and Adam Bedell, the Lions didn't bring in a superstar, but they do have some reinforcements coming if they can get through this rough stretch without losing too much ground in the playoff race.
This game with the Union is important if Orlando City wants to keep pace in the Eastern Conference and some players will likely be playing for a job as the new players come to Orlando and get acclimated.
On the other side, the Union have a few players of their own to keep an eye out for. Here are three players from each side who will be key to the result.
Sebastien Le Toux - The Union winger has scored in each of the past two games and has been a force on the outside for Philadelphia all season. With Orlando City's defense being shaky at best in the past few weeks, Le Toux threatens to run wild for 90 minutes unless the Lions can figure out a way to slow him down. Orlando's back line will have their hands full with Le Toux.
Cristian Maidana - The Union's assist leader (tied for second in MLS) is a constant threat for the Union to set up what has come to be a formidable offensive threat. Maidana is the man who sets it all up, and if he is able to get into space it will be a long night for OCSC. If the Orlando City defensive midfielders can wrap up Maidana and rough him up a little bit they could quell the team's whole offense.
Maurice Edu - There are few MLS defenders who can stop Cyle Larin. Maurice Edu could be one of those few. The Union center back is big enough and physical enough to compete with Larin. Edu has a lot of pressure on him every game due to a shoddy back line for the Union, so he won't be in uncharted waters, but there are few young strikers like Larin
Seb Hines - After acquiring center back David Mateos, questions arose about what Orlando City would do at center back. The team released center back Sean St. Ledger last week, and now are relying on Hines until Mateos gets here. This is a big opportunity for Hines to prove he belongs on the pitch even while Mateos is part of the team. If Hines underperforms he could find himself on the bench as Orlando City tries to make a push for the playoffs.,
Cyle Larin - The rookie striker is tied for the record for goals scored by a rookie coming into the match, and a lot of eyes will be on him to see if he is able to break that record. Not to mention, he has been one of the very few positives on the field for Orlando City in recent weeks.
Tally Hall - Someone has to stop all the shots Orlando City has been giving up recently, right? Most of the goals given up by OCSC are not on Hall, but when you have a back line that has struggled the way Orlando City's has, the pressure on the keeper increases exponentially. Hall may have to channel his inner-Henrik Lundqvist and stand on his head if Orlando City wants to come out with a win.
Who are your players to watch? Let us know in the comments section below.