Orlando City hosts the New England Revolution this Saturday in the friendly confines of Exploria Stadium. Even though the Lions are in fifth place and the Revolution are in ninth place, they are only separated by three points. With Orlando City dropping points late against D.C. United, securing a win at home is even more important. Here are the things that the Lions need to do to secure three points against the Revolution this weekend.
Say No to Bou
Gustavo Bou only has seven goals so far this season. While he is not near the top of MLS when it comes to scoring, Bou should not be underestimated. He is still a very serious attacking threat, especially since he has players like Carles Gil and Emmanuel Boateng to get him the ball in dangerous areas. Fortunately, he does not have Sebastian Lletget to provide service, as New England has traded the USMNT player to FC Dallas.
Normally, I would point out that Orlando City should also be concerned about Jozy Altidore, however, he is on loan to Puebla in Liga MX. The Revolution do have their newest Designated Player, Giacomo Vrioni. The new DP has yet to score in MLS, but giving him his first goal is exactly the type of thing that seems to happen when teams play Orlando City. Pedro Gallese and the back line need to make sure that doesn’t happen.
As I mentioned above, Gil and Boateng are a threat to provide service for the New England strikers. Unfortunately, they are also a threat to score themselves. César Araújo is easily the best signing Orlando City made this year, and he is making a case for being the club MVP. Containing New England’s attacking midfield is exactly the type of thing that Araújo needs to do for that to happen.
The good news is that I very much think he can do it. These are very good attackers, but so far this season Araújo has stood up many quality players. If he can continue his good form — and there is no reason to think he cannot — then he can really be the difference maker when it comes to keeping the Revolution off the scoreboard.
Score First, Score Second
Honestly, scoring third would also be good. If you look at how relaxed and free the Lions were in the U.S. Open Cup match against the New York Red Bulls, it stemmed from getting that second goal. Too often Orlando City is forced to white knuckle a result with only one goal. The Lions will need to beat Revolution keeper Djordje Petrović. Petrović already has three clean sheets in his first 11 matches.
It might be that Orlando City’s players are over-thinking things. As such, it is important for this club to get out of their heads. I’m not sure I want to say it, but they may have...
Whatever it is that is making Alexandre Pato and Benji Michel miss open-net sitters needs to get fixed. If we can’t get Doctor Sharon Fieldstone on staff, then surely there is a qualified sports psychologist at Orlando Health. I don’t care if someone has to burn some sage, dig up the stolen Hawaiian totem from the pitch, or any other crazy thing, but get rid of the bad mojo, baby.
That is what I will be looking for as the Lions look to get back on the winning side at home this Saturday. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.