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Orlando City vs. Vancouver Whitecaps: Match Preview, Starting XIs, Predictions and More

Orlando City has looked lost in the last three matches, but things won't get any easier with a long trip to Vancouver. Playing without many of their big names, do the Lions have any shot at a result against the Whitecaps?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City (4-5-9, 21 points) hasn't scored a goal in over 270 minutes of league action. They Lions are currently without a head coach and down a captain. And on Thursday they had to fly across the continent for Saturday night's meeting with the Vancouver Whitecaps (8-8-4, 28 points), after looking disinterested in a 2-0 loss at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday.

So, that's why we're covering Pokémon GO this week.

While Orlando is still within a game of the Eastern Conference playoffs, it's tough to feel good about the team's chances going into the second half of the season. Even a draw against Vancouver (normally a positive result on the road) would seem like the Lions bumping up against the ceiling of their potential. This is a team desperately in need of three points.

Starting XI and Lineup Predictions:

Orlando City vs Vancouver Whitecaps - Football tactics and formations

Orlando City:

Injuries, suspensions and a midweek game could force Orlando City to roll out a lineup against Vancouver that, frankly, makes me want to fight somebody.

While it's an improvement over the Pray-for-Nocerino formation we saw against the Red Bulls, there's still a lot to be desired here, especially in the top half. With Cyle Larin as the lone striker, this formation is going to be toothless unless Kevin Molino can consistently provide the kind of service he's only managed in spurts this season.

Júlio Baptista has been dangerous late in games this season, but it remains it be seen whether he can replicate that for 90 minutes playing out of position in the attacking midfield.

Vancouver Whitecaps:

The good news for Orlando is that Octavio Rivero, the man who who handed the Lions their first-ever MLS defeat in 2015, has been shipped to Chile.

So that's not someone Bobby Murphy has to worry about on Saturday.

Vancouver's defense is sturdy and should allow the team to wear down Orlando City while trying to manufacture something on offense. The Caps' defense has been decent in 2016, but that's not because of any defensive ingenuity.

Instead, the Whitecaps have relied on their goalkeeper, currently Major League Soccer's leader in saves and our...

Player to Watch:

See what I did there?

Anyway, the man between the posts for Vancouver is none other than David Ousted. He arrived in MLS three years ago, after a solid career in his native Denmark that saw Ousted start for a Europa League-bound Randers club. Since making the move to North America as a free agent, Ousted has become one of the best keepers in MLS.

He was a finalist for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year a season ago, in addition to earning his first All-Star nod. And at just 31 years old (still young for a keeper), there's reason to believe that Ousted could be the Whitecaps' answer in net for seasons to come.

Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Orlando City 1

I don't know what you want me to tell you, but the Lions are in a bad place right now.

A seven-hour flight on tired legs isn't ideal for a team that's seen its offense go cold. Orlando City has play-makers, but no one in that lineup strikes me as someone who can generate offense out of nothing. Larin's a dynamic finisher and Molino has balled out at times this season, but there's not just not enough here to occupy a Vancouver defense that's closed out far better teams.

I think the Lions will get something, but it won't be enough against a superior Vancouver club.