Orlando City supporters are all too familiar with the Lions' defensive woes at this point in 2016, but the prospect of facing Chicago Fire's David Accam on Sunday isn't likely to provide any solace, unfortunately. The Fire's speedy forward is among the fastest players in MLS, and he's had a good deal of success against the Lions since the Orlando club made the jump to the top flight last year.
In four games against Orlando City, Accam has found the back of the net three times, although the Lions pulled out wins in two of those matches and managed draws in the other two, so it has yet to prove fatal for Orlando. With Orlando City's center backs lacking any pace at all, however, danger lurks for the Lions this weekend and Accam will be licking his lips (assuming he plays after a midweek U.S. Open Cup match at New England).
Seb Hines and David Mateos struggled mightily in Orlando's 3-1 loss last week to Seattle, failing to deal with Jordan Morris' runs and allowing Clint Dempsey to net a hat trick at Camping World Stadium. The pairing has looked especially slow, and the continued absence of Rafael Ramos, combined with the slide of Brek Shea from fullback into the midfield, has left the back four without any pace to speak of.
In Orlando's first meeting with Chicago this season, Accam netted a goal that perfectly demonstrated the disparity in pace between the Ghanaian striker and one of City's center backs, Seb Hines.
After a giveaway from Antonio Nocerino in Orlando City's attacking third, John Goossens saw an opportunity and launched a long ball toward the streaking Accam on the counter. Despite the release by Accam and the recognition by Goossens to send him, Hines still had an inside track to the ball and looked in position to deal with it, but then Accam turned on the jets.
Hines was left burnt, and Joe Bendik was unable to deal with the 1-v-1 opportunity created as a result, as Accam slotted home into the right side of goal and negated an early Orlando lead.
With the current back line setup, the Lions will be especially susceptible to this type of pace. Until reinforcements are brought in or Jason Kreis finds a magical solution to the problems at the back, continue preparing to bite your nails this weekend.