After a forced two-week break, Orlando City SC prepares to see the field again this weekend. The Lions will play against Eastern Conference rivals Philadelphia Union in their second home game of the season on Saturday.
The match is expected to highlight some interesting individual match-ups, which can have a grand influence on the game’s outcome.
Cyle Larin vs. Oguchi Onyewu
The Canadian forward and the American defender will star in the classic duel of youth against experience. The 21-year-old Larin is one on the most prolific MLS strikers and scored Orlando’s lone goal in 2017, while the 34-year-old Onyewu is restarting his career with an unexpected starting job after two years sidelined. The defender has averaged two tackles, 3.5 interceptions and 7.5 clearances in a couple of matches so far.
At 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds, the Union center back is one of the most physical players in the league. But Larin, at 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, also likes to use his athleticism and might not shy from the contact.
Matías Pérez García vs. Haris Medunjanin
With Kaká sidelined for six weeks, Matías Pérez García might have his biggest opportunity to shine for Orlando City. With the Brazilian’s absence, MPG is expected to take the No. 10 role, where he had his best moments, and lead the Lions offense.
The diminutive Argentinean, though, might have to overcome one of the Union’s best defensive players in the 6-foot-1 Haris Medunjanin. The Bosnian international has played in some of the most important European leagues, with notable appearances in the Spanish La Liga and the Dutch Eredivisie, and was on the field for the Union in each of the 180 minutes of their 2017 MLS campaign so far.
Fabian Herbers vs. Donny Toia
Starting his second season with the Union, German winger Fabian Herbers is one of the most dangerous players on the team. He assisted one of the two goals the team scored in 2017 and has already become the club’s eighth all-time leader for assists, with eight in only 34 games.
The challenge of slowing Herbers down will belong to Donny Toia. The 24-year-old fullback was signed to strengthen Orlando’s back line and will have a great opportunity to show his value and assure his starting spot over Brazilian PC.