Only managing a 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew last time out, Orlando City SC really needed a victory but a second successive home game is just what we need at the minute.
Now facing our farthest away side in all of MLS in Carl Robinson’s Vancouver Whitecaps, hopefully Orlando City SC can take advantage of potential travelling fatigue.
With Whitecaps drawing 1-1 against Cascadia Cup rivals Seattle Sounders on Wednesday too, Orlando City SC have crucially earned a full week’s training without any midweek action.
This is only the second time the Canadian side have travelled to Central Florida in Major League Soccer with Caps having last visited in March 2015.
Representing our third ever game in MLS, and subsequently our first loss (0-1) at this level, this is only the third time both teams have faced each other.
Really struggling for rhythm and clear cut chances against Columbus Crew in the first 45 minutes last time out, Orlando City SC can at least take heart from a rallying second-half performance.
In a half that saw Crew’s Harrison Afful sent off after Video Action Replay intervention, Orlando City SC displayed greater fight and could’ve nicked it at the end through masked substitute and returning hero Dom Dwyer.
Only victories will do for the Lions right now with Jason Kreis‘ side having given themselves a mountain to climb after a run of just TWO wins in EIGHTEEN consecutive MLS fixtures.
As for Caps, the BC Place-based currently sit sixth in the Western Conference on 35 points after 24 games played.
2015/17 head-to-head stats
Last facing each other at BC Place back in July 2016, Orlando City SC earned a valuable 2-2 draw at our furthest outpost in all of Major League Soccer.
Unfortunately, Orlando City SC lost their way from here with 35th and 43rd minute strikes from Nicolás Mezquida and Masato Kudo handing Caps a half-time lead.
This wasn’t a day where City rolled over and died however with Cyle Larin pegging back the hosts shortly after half-time on 50 minutes.
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 Orlando City SC 2 – Highlights – July 16, 2016 (Credit: Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Being a Western Conference franchise, games between Vancouver Whitecaps and Orlando City SC are few and far between.
Only facing each other TWICE in Major League Soccer so far, the Lions are yet to inflict defeat on their Canadian opposition.
Both sides first met in our third ever league fixture at the Citrus Bowl in March 2015.
In a tightly contested encounter, Vancouver Whitecaps inflicted a first ever Major League Soccer defeat (0-1) on Orlando City SC with a 96th minute Octavio Rivero goal breaking Lions supporters’ hearts.
Orlando City SC 0 Vancouver Whitecaps 1 – Highlights – March 21, 2015 (Credit: Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Orlando City SC form
We don’t need reminding but facts are facts.
It’s almost been a month without an MLS victory for Orlando City SC with our last win coming away at Real Salt Lake on June 30th.
Leaving ourselves a mountain to climb after throwing away leads against Atlanta United, Montreal Impact and New York Red Bulls, we now need to win as many games as possible while relying on others to slip up.
While we could all rightly call Orlando City Stadium a fortress back in March and April, that sadly hasn’t been the case recently.
Unbeaten in our first SIX games at our brand new soccer-specific facility and winning the first FIVE consecutive games no less, that’s in stark contrast to recent form.
The Lions have now failed to win their last FIVE home fixtures in MLS, beginning with our nine-men 0-0 draw against Chicago Fire and finishing with the 1-1 draw against Columbus Crew last time out.
Only victories will do for Orlando City SC with just THREE more home fixtures at Orlando City Stadium following Saturday’s game against Vancouver Whitecaps.
With this being the case, Jason Kreis‘ men are also going to need to pull something special out of the bag in the road games that remain to stand any chance of making the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Orlando City SC 1 Columbus Crew 1 – Highlights – August 19, 2017 (Credit: Major League Soccer)
The reassuring news for Orlando City SC supporters heading into this one is the fact we’ve fared okay against Western Conference opposition this term.
Unbeaten in SIX games against sides from the West in 2017, our only two defeats have come against Houston Dynamo (4-0) and Adrian Heath‘s Minnesota United.
Given the fact Carl Robinson’s Caps faced Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders in midweek, not to mention the long flight down from British Columbia, hopefully Orlando City SC can take advantage of possible fatigue.
Vancouver Whitecaps form
Still very much in contention to reach the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs, Vancouver Whitecaps are clearly a capable team on their day.
Carl Robinson’s men currently sit sixth in the Western Conference on 35 points having won TWO of their last FIVE road fixtures.
One man Orlando City SC will have to keep an eye on is exciting Peruvian international Yordy Reyna who scored a stunner against Houston Dynamo recently.
With Yoshimar Yotún looking forward to a reunion with his Los Incas international tam-mate, there is no room to underestimate any MLS opponent right now.
Most definitely the danger man for Vancouver Whitecaps, Fredy Montero is a striker in great goalscoring form right now.
Scoring THREE goals in his last FOUR Major League Soccer appearances, the experienced Colombian striker scored against Seattle Sounders in Wednesday’s Cascadia Cup match that ended 1-1.
Impressively, Carl Robinson’s side managed to salvage a draw from that game despite playing with 10 men after Tony Tchani saw red for a second yellow foul on Cristian Roldan on the hour mark.
After a Nicolás Lodeiro penalty put Sounders 0-1 up on 19 minutes, a 64th minute strike from Fredy Montero earned the hosts a point after superb work from wonderkid Alphonso Davies.
With Fredy Montero also scoring against Houston Dynamo and Colorado Rapids recently, we must keep close tabs on the much travelled frontman.