Following the postponement of the New England Revolution fixture in Gamweek Two, Orlando City SC finally face their first road game of 2017 at Columbus Crew on Saturday night.
Heading to MAPFRE Stadium as the ONLY Major League Soccer side with an 100% win record intact, Jason Kreis‘ Lions will be looking to make it three victories from three.
There is no doubting that this match-up with Crew will prove Orlando City SC‘s most difficult assignment so far this season. Following a forgettable 2016 campaign, the 2015 MLS Cup finalists have started really well under Gregg Berhalter this year.
With the likes of Justin Meram, Ola Kamara and Federico Higuaín in top form so far this term, the Ohio-based side currently lead the Eastern Conference with seven points from four games.
Aditionally, Columbus Crew are yet to taste defeat against Orlando City SC in the two games hosted at MAPFRE Stadium in MLS so far.
A tough nut to crack, Crew will also take heart from effectively ending Orlando City SC‘s chances of making the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs inflicting a damaging 1-4 defeat on our Lions at Camping World Stadium in September 2016.
2015/16 head-to-head stats
The less said about that 1-4 defeat to Crew the better. On an evening that ultimately defined Orlando City SC‘s 2016 campaign, everything that could go wrong did go wrong.
Surrendering an early lead in only the sixth minute when Ethan Finlay got the ball rolling, the Lions shipped three more with old Ola Kamara bagging a brace after a Seb Hines own goal.
Cyle Larin did peg the score back to 1-3 in the 79th minute but City never looked like getting anything from this game.
Right on the back of a humbling 4-2 loss at LA Galaxy in a long-haul away day, this defeat to Columbus Crew pretty much killed off our hopes of making the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs.
There’s no escaping it, Columbus Crew have proved tough opposition for Orlando City SC to overcome in Major League Soccer so far.
Comfortably beating our Lions 3-0 in the club’s first ever MLS meeting back in April 2015, something of a semi-rivalry has ensued between both fan bases ever since.
With City supporters enjoying getting one over on Crew more than other opponents, the only MLS victory over Gregg Berhalter’s men to date came in 2015’s third and final head-to-head.
Make no mistake, Columbus Crew versus Orlando City SC fixtures produce tonnes of goals! So much so that we’ve seen OVER 2.5 GOALS scored in ALL five Major League Soccer head-to-heads contested so far.
The most goal crazy game was that aforementioned 5-2 victory for the Lions but even last season, the goal trend continued.
In July 2016, second-half comeback goals from Kevin Molino and Cyle Larin salvaged a 2-2 draw at MAPFRE Stadium under interim head coach Bobby Murphy ahead of our 1-4 humbling in Central Florida in September.
He’s the only Orlando City SC player to have found the net so far this season and given how clinical we know Cyle Larin is, it isn’t surprising to note that he scored in both games against Crew last season.
Scoring what was merely a consolation strike in 2016’s second head-to-head, it was the Canadian international’s goal that completed a superb four-minute comeback when the Lions were originally trailing 2-0 in Ohio in July 2016.
Columbus Crew form
Ok, so Columbus Crew haven’t managed to keep a clean sheet in their two home games played so far this season but when you take 2016 into account, they finished last season strongly.
Inflicting 2-0 and 3-0 defeats on New England Revolution and Chicago Fire in their final two games of 2016, both Portland Timbers and Fire (again) have at least managed to breach Gregg Berhalter’s backline so far this term.
That said, Crew enter this game in high spirits having overcome Portland Timbers 3-2 last time out.
Columbus Crew 3 Portland Timbers 2 – Extended Highlights – March 25, 2017 (Credit: Major League Soccer)
Scoring three goals against Orlando City SC over two meetings last season, Ola Kamara is a man in a rich vein of form right now.
Currently Columbus Crew’s top scorer with three strikes from four games, the Norwegian international was eighth overall in the 2017 MLS Golden Boot race following Gameweek Four.
There’s no denying that following the winter arrival of Jonathan Spector, Orlando City SC‘s defence has improved a lot under Jason Kreis but that said, Ola Kamara still looks a huge threat to the Lions’ chances of getting a positive result on Saturday evening.
Orlando City SC form
Oh, how good does it feel to be winning again?
Victories were all too sporadic for Orlando City SC last season but when you take the tail end of last season and the beginning of this, things are looking mightily positive.
After all, Orlando City SC‘s MLS winning streak now stands at FOUR games!
With the Lions being the only Major League Soccer side with a 100% winning record left intact right now, making it three wins from three would do wonders for our belief as we hunt down the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Orlando City SC 2 Philadelphia Union 1 – Highlights – March 18, 2017 (Credit: PPsoccer)