The Lions learned just how cruel soccer can be last week, falling 2-1 to Philadelphia on an 89th minute free kick that should have been disallowed. But Orlando has no time to sulk, as it prepares for a month-long gauntlet against Eastern Conference playoff teams, beginning with the Revs this weekend.
Orlando City had mixed success against New England in 2015, coming back from two goals down to steal a point at home before getting trounced 3-0 in the reverse fixture at Gillette Stadium. Let's relive the first match-up, in which Aurélien Collin scored his first goal as a Lion.
Starting XI and Lineup Projections:
Orlando's lineup remains in flux this week, with a couple players who missed the match in Philadelphia rehabbing injuries. Adrian Heath was hopeful during the week that Cyle Larin, Cristian Higuita, and Tommy Redding would be ready to go against the Revolution, though it remains to be seen whether any will be fit to start. With that in mind, this starting lineup is even more of a "projection" than usual.
If both Larin, Higuita, and Redding are cleared for action, look for the Lions to trot out their 4-3-3 formation against the Revs. Brek Shea should slot in at left back after serving his red card suspension last week, and Kaká will likely move from his newly minted striker role to replace Adrian Winter.
New England Revolution:
New England has also been hit hard by injuries this season, with Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo both missing extended time. Davies could make his first start since March 12 on Sunday and will look to provide the Revs with the offensive punch they have been lacking, as the club has scored just three goals in their last five games.
Davies got on the score sheet during his last trip to Orlando, putting New England up 1-0 with a strike from just inside the box.
Agudelo could also provide the Revs with a spark off the bench if he's ready to go on Sunday, as the U.S. international has a penchant for scoring flashy goals. Though Agudelo made his MLS debut six years ago, he's still only 23.
Player(s) to Watch:
New England is a team stacked with players that die-hard USMNT fans should be familiar with, including Lee Nguyen, Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo.
Nguyen has come on strong since the last World Cup, earning several call-ups from Jurgen Klinsmann and providing the USMNT with midfield depth. His career actually began in Orlando with the Ajax Orlando Prospects, a short-lived satellite academy for the Dutch giants that operated in Central Florida between 2002 and 2006.
But after playing in Holland, Denmark and Vietnam, Nguyen has finally found a home in Boston. And he's torn it up.
Davies and Agudelo have fallen off the international radar a bit, but they still give New England plenty of offensive firepower.
On defense, the Revs are led by Chris Tierney, who's spent his entire career with the club. Tierney has already earned MLS Team of the Week honors once this season and will be asked to slow down an Orlando attack that's been clicking at home recently.
Prediction: Orlando City 2, New England 0
New England has struggled to find the back of the net lately and the Citrus Bowl has been a fortress early in the 2016 season. I'm on a losing streak with these predictions, so I'm not going to overthink this one.
It's easy to get discouraged after a crushing result against Philadelphia, but I like Orlando to bounce back at home in front of a national TV audience. The club deserved at least a draw against the Union and are catching a New England at the right time, with the Revs still searching for their second win of the season.
I think Kaká tucks one away and the Lions find an insurance goal late to pick up a confidence-building win at home.
Here's hoping Orlando can get its four-game stretch off on the right foot!