An Independence Day trip to Texas awaits Orlando City SC who contest their seventh road game of the regular Major League Soccer season at FC Dallas on Monday evening.
Earning only their FOURTH league victory of the 2016 campaign when dramatically defeating Toronto FC 3-2 in Gameweek 16, Adrian Heath‘s men also contended with a midweek U.S. Open Cup Round of Last 16 tie against Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
While fatigue may have proved an issue this time a year ago, the Lions boast far greater squad depth nowadays but there is still no getting away from the fact that Monday’s trip to FC Dallas looks a difficult assignment on paper.
Following Gameweek 16, Óscar Pareja’s Toros lied just a point off the MLS Western Conference summit (31 points) having won exactly half of their 18 fixtures played so far while the Frisco-based outfit boast a notoriously mean record at Toyota Stadium.
Out of the six road games Orlando City SC have contested so far in 2016, the Lions have claimed victory once, drawn on two occasions while losing on the other three occasions.
With defensive indiscipline having become something of an unwanted trend so far this term, Adrian Heath‘s Lions will have to be on their mettle.
Ultimately, this FC Dallas team are a free-scoring outfit who can call upon the likes of Tesho Akindele (5 goals), Michael Barrios (5 goals) and Fabian Castillo (4 goals).
Without sounding too disheartened pre-kick off, the fact remains that FC Dallas have enjoyed the bragging rights against our men in purple down the years with the two teams having also faced one another before the MLS era.
That said, Orlando City SC‘s record against Toronto FC was terrible prior to claiming our FIRST league victory over the Canadians last time out so let’s be optimistic!
2015 head-to-head stats
Despite facing each other in the U.S. Open Cup, pre-season friendlies and even the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic back in 2012, this is a fresh Major League Soccer fixture in reality.
Playing Western Conference teams only once in the regular season as per league rules, FC Dallas made the trip to Central Florida last July with Toyota Stadium, Texas the setting for 2016’s second ever meeting in MLS.
Unfortunately for Orlando City SC, home advantage didn’t count a year ago when Óscar Pareja’s Toros stole away all three points in a comfortable 0-2 victory at the Citrus Bowl.
Rare for a side to deny the Lions scoring at home of course, it must be acknowledged that on the night, Adrian Heath‘s side were missing several first team stars such as Kaká, Brek Shea, Darwin Cerén and Cyle Larin.
Orlando City SC 0 FC Dallas 2 – Highlights – July 11, 2015 (Credit: FC Dallas)
While we all know that Orlando City SC have tied far too many games at Camping World Stadium, the fact remains that the Lions still boast a proud undefeated record ever since New York Red Bulls grabbed a 0-2 victory back on July 19th, 2015.
Something FC Dallas had in common with the Red Bulls last term however was the fact that they also achieved the tough feat of stealing all three points in Central Florida only eight days earlier in July.
Nevertheless, in the final reckoning, only FIVE teams managed to win at the Citrus Bowl last term.
FC Dallas form
Serving to underline just how tough a proposition Monday evening’s game in Texas is going to be, FC Dallas are notorious for their free-scoring efforts at home.
In fairness, Orlando City SC are also capable goalscorers not only at home but away also so perhaps we should expect an absolute goal fest?
After all, our Lions have only kept one clean sheet in the league so far this season so outscoring FC Dallas would appear the most likely strategy to succeed here.
While Orlando City SC are currently FIFTEEN games unbeaten at home, FC Dallas can trump that record by one with Óscar Pareja’s men undefeated in SIXTEEN fixtures at Toyota Stadium.
Winning SIX of their NINE home games in MLS so far this season, FC Dallas are an incredibly efficient team at home so Adrian Heath will need to make sure the Lions have brought their A-game come kick-off.
The Frisco-based team’s most recent win was 2-0 effort against Real Salt Lake last time out in Gameweek 16.
FC Dallas 2 Real Salt Lake 0 – Highlights – June 25, 2016 (Credit: FC Dallas)
Orlando City SC form
As alluded to already, while FC Dallas’ home record would scare most teams in Major League Soccer, we mustn’t forget that Orlando City SC are capable goalscorers wherever we go!
It’s also incredibly positive that the Lions have shared the goals around of late also with Julio Baptista, Kevin Molino, Seb Hines, Cyle Larin, Kaká and Adrian Winter having ALL got on the scoresheet in our last THREE league fixtures!
If you were an alien beamed down from Mars and last Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Toronto FC was the very first Orlando City SC game you’ve ever watched, this is the kind of game you can expect from our team right now.
Always capable of scoring at the right end but also experiencing defensive lapses that have cost us time and again already in 2016, it comes as no surprise that there have been OVER 2.5 GOALS SCORED in our last SIX MLS fixtures!
Orlando City SC 3 Toronto FC 2 – Highlights – June 25, 2016 (Credit: Toronto FC)