Orlando City SC fought tooth and nail last weekend to leave Toyota Park with a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire. What prompted Kaká's move out left? Did José Aja impress in his debut? As Kreis' boys prepare for their meeting with the Colorado Rapids, who can score against Tim Howard?
This week we have Luis Hernandez, Allen Etzler, and yours truly to discuss all this and more in the latest edition of The Mane Land Roundtable.
Kaká was absolutely fantastic in this one, particularly after moving wide out left. Was there something in Chicago's defense that Kreis wanted to exploit after the half, or was this a continuance of the left wing experiment we've seen sporadically all year?
Luis: I think it was a slight combination of both with more of the left wing experiment. Kreis strikes me as a guy who isn't going to be afraid to move the players around and tinker while he's learning everybody's talents. He's also going to want to see how those players respond to certain matches. Add to that the injury to Molino and you see a lot of moving pieces.
Allen: Has Kreis not been asked been about this? It seems like that would be a good question for him. I personally didn't see anything in Chicago's defense that made it seem the left side was available to exploit. But the timing of the move would suggest Kreis did. Generally speaking, if you're experimenting with something you do it from the beginning. This move seems to suggest Kreis thought getting Kaká on the left would give him more opportunities to get the ball on his feet in space to help produce offense.
Wade: I didn't see much of a hole on the right side of the defense, but man did the captain make that side of the pitch his own or what? There's a reason I'm typing this and not coming up with the game plans on match day, and Kreis moving the captain wide is a damn fine example of why.
José Aja debuted in the second half, coming on for Tommy Redding. What sort of first impression did he leave on you?
Allen: It wasn't a good one. He got beat pretty badly after not being on the field very long. He likely needs some time to get acclimated so I'm not saying Aja was a bad signing this early, but his debut left a lot to be desired.
Wade: First impression? Dude's big. Didn't look like he belonged, but it was his first appearance. I'm hopeful he can use that body to help that back line, but, time will tell.
Luis: I think Aja is still someone you need to see more in actual match minutes. I wasn't in love with his play but let's be honest, we've had worse.
The Colorado Rapids have been a surprise this year, and have recently added Tim Howard between the posts. If any Lion is able to beat him for a goal, who will it be?
Luis: I'm not worried about Tim Howard as much as I'm worried about playing in the higher elevation. I'm going the safe route and saying Cyle Larin will keep scoring and prove his talent by scoring against Howard.
Allen: Cyle Larin. It's always Cyle Larin. Cyle Larin is the best.
Wade: What a bunch of wusses, eh? While Kid Fantastic is the easy pick, I'm going way out on a limb with this one -- should Brek Shea start, he'll be the one to score and break his recent run of poor form. If he finds himself on the bench to start the game, The Original beats the Secretary of Defense to break the ice.
Shkelzen Gashi has been a problem for every team he's faced this year, and he will be for the Lions. Having scored two goals in his last three appearances, what can be done on the right side of the defense to slow him down?
Wade: Kreis played Darwin Cerén on the wing to put a stronger defensive presence in the way of DaMarcus Beasley -- I wouldn't be shocked to see Servando Carrasco or a returning Rafael Ramos deployed in the same manner. You'll remember Beasley was largely ineffective in the match.
Allen: In theory, we could put somebody better on the right side of the back line. Not sure that player exists, however. So I guess that means you have to take your chances and leave someone on an island against him, or have two guys marking him. Maybe have whoever plays defensive mid cheat his way, or put another center back or even pull back a midfielder to defend him. I imagine they'll throw a few different looks at him, so he can't get comfortable and know what to expect.
Luis: The team needs to keep him tied up physically as much as possible and avoid losing him in space. Like some teams double team Larin and push him around, Orlando City needs to do that to Gashi without committing stupid fouls in the box or in dangerous positions.
And that'll do it this week for us, be sure to catch the game at it's 9 p.m. ET start time, and sound off with your answers below.