Orlando City returns to the friendly confines of Exploria Stadium to host FC Cincinnati this Saturday night. The Lions will be looking to get back on the winning side of things after the draw away to the Chicago Fire. Home field advantage can be a factor if enough supporters show up. What do the Lions need to do to secure all three points at home before a two-match road trip?
To Score is Divine
A highly questionable handball call negated what should have been Orlando City’s winning goal at Chicago. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to be done about that other than get back to scoring goals this weekend. In the first match of the season, the Lions took eight shots with three on target, scoring two goals. In the match against Chicago, Orlando City had a tougher time with only five shots, and none (officially) on target. It’s hard to score if the ball doesn’t go towards the net.
Cincinnati shipped five goals in its first match against Austin FC. The Ohio side did a much better job against D.C. United, but that doesn’t mean Orlando City can’t find a way to get multiple goals. Alexandre Pato is unlikely to get only one goal this season, and Ercan Kara has shown how dangerous he can be despite not getting his first goal yet. Add to that the fact that Óscar Pareja’s system allows for those who aren’t traditional strikers to score, and the opportunities are there. Now, the club just needs to make it happen.
The Return of Robin
Orlando City will once again have its first choice back line with the return of Robin Jansson. Of course, Antônio Carlos has been one of the league’s best center backs so far this season. I guess preseason practices are overrated for some. FC Cincinnati has not scored yet this season, and Orlando City is well-staffed to keep that streak going.
As good a job as Rodrigo Schlegel did in the last match, there are reasons that Jansson is the first-choice starter. One of those reasons is his pinpoint accuracy on long balls. Orlando City had to deal with Chicago’s defense and strong winds making it tough to get into the attack. Now, with Jansson back and hopefully no strong winds to deal with, the Lions can make better use of the long ball.
Araújo vs. Acosta
César Araújo has had the best start of Orlando City’s new acquisitions through the first two matches. He has dealt with Romell Quioto and Xherdan Shaqiri two weeks in a row, and has effectively shut them down. Neither was able to do what they typically do, or at least as much as they typically do. For a 20-year-old that is brand new to a club and a league, that is very impressive.
Now, Araújo will need to deal with Luciano Acosta. Cincinnati’s attacking midfielder is an integral part of his club’s attack, and stopping him will be a big part of keeping Cincinnati off the board. Orlando City has an opportunity to keep a third straight clean sheet this week, and Araújo needs to be a big part of making that happen.
Those are the things I’ll be looking for this weekend. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Vamos Orlando!