Barring a 2-0 loss at Columbus Crew back on April 1st, Orlando City SC have enjoyed a perfect start to the 2017 Major League Soccer campaign, sitting top of the Eastern Conference after Gameweek 8.
Winning five of our six games so far this season, our home form has been the bedrock on which our fast start has taken place. Pablo Mastroeni’s Colorado Rapids are the latest visitors to the fortress that is Orlando City Stadium on Saturday.
Taking no time at all to adjust to our brand new soccer-specific facility, Orlando City SC proved that they aren’t simply a threat at home with a morale-boosting 1-2 victory at New York City FC last time out.
With Cyle Larin in sensational form this term with his brace at Yankee Stadium taking him to SIX goals for the campaign, the Canadian international is one of the hottest strikers in MLS right now.
Only trailing Houston Dynamo’s Erick Torres (7 goals) by a single goal in the MLS Golden Boot race following Gameweek 8, Cyle Larin‘s confidence is sky high at the minute and Rapids centre halves Bobby Burling and Kortne Ford should have their work cut out on Sunday.
It appears a great time for Jason Kreis‘ Lions to play Pablo Mastroeni’s side who currently sit rock bottom in the Western Conference on just four points after a hugely disappointing start to 2017.
Going all the way to the semi-finals of MLS Cup last season of course, Rapids are looking like a one-season wonder right now with a single victory, draw and four losses to their name so far.
As for head-to-heads between the pair, Orlando City SC remain undefeated against Colorado Rapids in MLS play after the Commerce City-based side knocked the Lions out of the 2014 US Open Cup three years ago.
2015/16 head-to-head stats
This game was also poignant for the fact that a notably large collection of Orlando City SC supporters made the three-and-a-bit hour flight to Denver to cheer on our boys in a particularly long road trip. Respect to those guys that travelled!
Colorado Rapids 0 Orlando City SC 0 – Highlights – August 20, 2016 (Credit: Colorado Rapids)
Being a Western Conference franchise, Orlando City SC have only played Colorado Rapids a single time in each of the past two Major League Soccer seasons.
The good news is that Rapids still await their first MLS victory over City with the aforementioned 0-0 draw and a 2-0 Orlando City SC win having been played out so far.
That 2-0 triumph came back in June 2015 when Orlando City SC kicked into overdrive shortly after the hour mark at the Citrus Bowl.
Orlando City SC form
Orlando City SC have made incredibly light work of transitioning to Orlando City Stadium, winning ALL FOUR home games in MLS so far this season.
An awesome feat in its own right but even sweeter given the fact that in all of those victories, we prevailed by the odd goal too!
When you add in the 4-2 win over D.C. United in the final game of last season where we saw Camping World Stadium off in style, you soon realise that Orlando City SC‘s home form has been flawless since 2016.
Undoubtedly the secret to Orlando City SC‘s success so far this season, scoring first has been vital in achieving three-point hauls.
Repeating the trick away from home with Cyle Larin bagging a 31st minute opener at New York City FC last time out, Orlando City SC have been winning AT HALF-TIME AND FULL-TIME in our last FIVE home fixtures in MLS.
The habit of getting into the lead and retaining it has been massive for our confidence so far and if we keep it up, more and more pundits may start talking about Orlando City SC as a team with the potential to finally reach the MLS Cup Playoffs.
As previously mentioned, we’ve not only won our FOUR home games played so far this season but we’ve squeezed through by a ONE-GOAL MARGIN in all of those fixtures, most recently a 2-1 win over LA Galaxy.
While every Lions fan would love to be winning games by greater margins for extra breathing space, the fact we’re getting through by the odd goal shows just how much we’ve improved our defence since 2016.
The addition of Jonathan Spector is looking more and more like a masterstroke with every passing game with the former Birmingham City defender taking no time at all to adjust to the rigours of Major League Soccer.
Orlando City SC 2 LA Galaxy 1 – Highlights – April 15, 2017 (Credit: LA Galaxy)
Colorado Rapids form
There’s extra motivation for Orlando City SC heading into this one given the fact that Colorado Rapids are WINLESS in their last FIVE road games in Major League Soccer.
This isn’t the kind of form you want on your CV when heading to a stronghold like Orlando City Stadium so hopefully this one goes to the form book on Sunday.
The last time Pablo Mastroeni’s side managed to grab all three points away from home came at Houston Dynamo (2-3) back in October 2016 although most recently, Adrian Heath‘s Minnesota United inflicted a 1-0 defeat on Rapids in Gameweek 8.
Minnesota United 1 Colorado Rapids 0 – Highlights – April 23, 2017 (Credit: Major League Soccer)
Colorado Rapids’ biggest problem this season is a severe lack of goals with Pablo Mastroeni’s side having only managed FIVE strikes in SIX games played so far.
The lowest goalscoring tally in all of Major League Soccer following Gameweek 8, Rapids are overly reliant on both Kevin Doyle and Dominique Badji to get the goals.
Goalscoring is something Orlando City SC haven’t had a problem with at any stage in Major League Soccer so far so we’ll be hoping to keep Zac MacMath extra busy on Saturday afternoon.