The 2019 MLS season is about to complete month two. The Lions, sitting in fifth in the Eastern Conference at the time of this writing, have had a bit of a chaotic start. The one thing to realize is that the club’s record is about as good on the road as it is at home. Considering the lightning hot starts the club has seen the past couple seasons, this beginning could be a bit more honest in terms of how the rest of the season will manifest. That being said, I have my crystal ball, I have my adult beverage, and I can feel the spirit of Aleister Crowley channeling dark magic to help me peer into the future for these May predictions.
May 4 vs. Toronto FC
Toronto, currently sitting second in the East with two games in hand, has looked very good this season. Sebastian Giovinco is gone, but there is this gentleman named Alejandro Pozuelo who is making up for his absence. Teams have been able to score on Toronto all season, but the Canadians have been scoring more. This will be a very tough match for the Lions, with the silver lining being that Jozy Altidore looks to possibly miss this match with an injury picked up this past weekend.
Recent Head-to-Head: Over the past two seasons, Toronto holds the advantage, winning three out of the four meetings. The last match played was a home win by Orlando, which bodes well.
Prediction: Toronto is clicking now and the Lions’ defense isn’t quite there. 2-1 Reds.
May 12 at Atlanta United
The 2018 MLS Cup champions have not had a very good 2019. Is it the loss of Miguel Almiron, or the tactics of new Head Coach Frank de Boer? I am not here to debate that, but the team has not been able to click on all cylinders like last season. Considering this rivalry, this is going to be a tough match regardless, and the Lions should benefit from Atlanta having a match the Wednesday prior.
Recent Head-to-Head: In two seasons of matches there have been no wins for the Lions. In fact, Atlanta outscored Orlando 8-2 in their three meetings in 2018.
Prediction: 2-2 draw.
May 15 at Seattle Sounders
Another team that, at the time of this writing, is on a tear. Until this past weekend, the Sounders were the last undefeated team in MLS, but they did just lose to LAFC. As a Western Conference team, this will be the once-a-year meeting, and playing in Seattle is always going to be tough for anyone. Traveling from the east coast to Seattle is tough enough, but then you have to play in front of that crowd in that stadium.
Recent Head-to-Head: Seattle is another one of those teams that the Lions have not beaten, but the time is coming. The Sounders took three points from Orlando last season, but the Lions drew in 2017.
Prediction: 1-1 draw.
May 19 vs. FC Cincinnati
The newest addition to MLS comes to Orlando for the first meeting between these clubs. With as new as the club is, it is a bit hard to judge where it stands compared to other teams in MLS, but here is what we know: Cincinnati has a draw against Atlanta in Atlanta, wins against Portland and away at New England, and a draw against Sporting Kansas City. To me, this all adds up to a fair test for the Lions, considering the short week for the home club and an eight-day break for FCC.
Recent Head-to-Head: History begins when the whistle blows for kickoff.
Prediction: 2-0 Orlando.
May 24 vs. LA Galaxy
I will openly admit that I will fanboy for just one second as Zlatan Ibrahimovic comes to Orlando. “The Lion” will be facing the Lions. LA has started this season strong, as one of the top teams in the Western Conference currently, and the Galaxy have been helped by the man who “is MLS.” This yearly battle is always a classic, and should be a highlight-filled way to bring May to a close.
Recent Head-to-Head: The home team has prevailed in every match in this series for the past four years. in 2018, the Galaxy won 4-3, while the 2017 meeting saw Orlando victorious in a 2-1 affair.
Prediction: 3-2 LA Galaxy in a bitter match, unless Orlando really starts clicking ahead of this fixture. If the Lions beat Seattle or Atlanta, then this match will end 2-1 Orlando.
I am not sure how much more honest I can be. My heart wants to say the Lions will walk away with more than 10 points this coming month, but my brain has finally had enough and is pushing for reason. I would be very proud if the club takes more than eight points in May. allowing the squad depth to help keep players fresh and healthy. May is just the beginning of three ugly months on the schedule, so every point is valuable. How do you see May shaping up? Let us know in the comment section below.