After playing 13 matches over the course of the last nine weeks, Orlando City SC is going through a much-welcomed 10-day break as the team prepares to face Miami FC next Wednesday in the fourth round of 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Following so many consecutive matches, the international break was certainly welcomed by every player of the Lions roster but, for multiple reasons, a few members of the team have every right to celebrate a few more days off, particularly these three:
The striker has arguably been one of the best players on the team so far, but it is undeniable that his production dropped recently — as happened to many of his teammates. Larin started the season on fire, scoring six goals in the first six matches, but he only found the back of the net twice over the last six games.
At 22, it’s hard to believe that Larin could be struggling because he is tired, so the fact that he will not rest during the international break, as he was called up to the Canadian National Team, is not worrying. Actually, perhaps a couple of goals against Curacao next Tuesday could put the Lions’ No. 9 back on his earlier scoring pace.
The Swiss right back is seventh on Orlando City in minutes played in 2017 (1,054) despite the fact that he missed the team’s first two matches of the season. Because of Rafael Ramos’ and Kevin Alston’s injuries, Sutter was overloaded and logged 90 minutes in nine of his 11 matches with the Lions.
Head Coach Jason Kreis planned to give the Swiss some rest Sunday against the Chicago Fire, but Ramos’ early red card made Sutter play for the final 45 minutes. Sutter may not be called upon against Miami FC, so he should use the free time to rest his body, which has been working hard since the start of the European season, last August, and his presence will be requested likely until the end of the year.
The 21-year-old Brazilian center back has been hot and cold on his three appearances with the Lions so far. Brought from Orlando City B to be a backup when other defenders were injured, Pereira did well against the San Jose Earthquakes, struggled against New York City FC and was solid against the Chicago Fire.
With only three games, he leads the team in interceptions per game (3), ranks second in clearances (5.3) and fifth in tackles (2.3) and blocks (0.3) according to WhoScored.com. If he uses the time provided by the international break to improve his chemistry with Jonathan Spector and manages to keep the good numbers, he will definitely prove himself as a viable option for the center back position.