In the opening game against New York City FC, Kaká went out with an injury in the 11th minute. Following the win over the New York Red Bulls, Matías Pérez Garcia received a one-game suspension. And all of a sudden, Orlando City was without its top two play-makers.
And now, along comes the LA Galaxy. With the team’s best two central attacking midfielders out, the team’s offense will have another reshape, which will test the roster’s depth and tell us more about what we can look forward to this season.
Jason Kreis is facing a big game against Galaxy that will let us see how he manages the team with two key attacking players out. Many things have been said about how Kreis is great at promoting youngsters and shaping talent, and now we need to see what he can do with the pieces he has left.
On the defensive side of the team, it’s great to see a good foundation being built and Joe Bendik and Jonathan Spector directing traffic, plus good appearances from Scott Sutter, Tommy Redding and Jose Aja. Like many coaches in history have said, “teams are built from the back to the front,” and the Lions appear to have taken care of the back side already.
Now, the offense has to show what they can do to improve upon the first four games — not only by scoring, but also by assisting and creating plays, moving the opponent's defense and creating space for the rest of the team. Cyle Larin and Carlos Rivas have done a good job attacking. But now it’s time for the midfield to show what they can do without an experienced natural play-maker available. We can probably expect a formation change.
It might be a great opportunity to have Luis Gil in the lineup to see why the Orlando City front office was so eager to have him this season. Gil knows what Kreis wants and expects, from his previous history with Real Salt Lake. The youngster may be able to help create that connection with the attacking team. Also, he has a great ability to cover space in the midfield when needed. At Real Salt Lake, he played few games on the wing for the team and had to take care of the side.
There are many options for the team, even if the depth of the team is being tested. But MPG will be back after this week, and Kaká is approaching his return. It will be interesting to see what Kreis has in mind. He is not a big fan of changing formations often but he sure can adjust to what he has.
We are seeing early in the season that this team is capable of making adjustments when needed and this will be a great challenge.