Drawing 3-3 at Atlanta United last weekend in one of the most entertaining MLS games all season, Jason Kreis’ side now make the long trip to Oregon to face Portland Timbers.
Following a dismal 4-0 thumping at New England Revolution on September 2nd, the Orlando City SC players have shown greater heart, fight and passion in recent outings.
In both the 1-2 win at D.C. United and 3-3 draw at Atlanta United, the Lions played with far greater spirit and a clear willingness not to simply let the campaign peter out.
That same courage will be needed in abundance at Providence Park with Portland Timbers second in the Western Conference after 30 games played.
MLS Cup winners in 2015 of course, Caleb Porter’s side have championship winning experience and an extremely talented roster that includes Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri and Fanendo Adi.
Despite being used to challenging near the top end of their conference compared to Orlando City SC‘s MLS experience so far, the Lions actually love facing the Rose City franchise.
While only two games have been played in this game series so far, City have taken six points from six against their faraway opposition.
Seven points off the 2017 MLS Cup Playoff qualification spots after our 3-3 draw at Atlanta United, Orlando City SC know they need to win all their remaining fixtures to stand any chance of finishing above the red line.
While we know this is an extremely slim possibility, the players do at least look like they’re performing with greater freedom with the pressure of making playoffs having lessened.
2015/17 head-to-head stats
So much has changed since Orlando City SC last faced Portland Timbers way over a year ago in April 2016.
Casting our minds back to that game at the Citrus Bowl, the performance remains one of our very best in Major League Soccer so far.
With Timbers travelling over 3,000 miles from Oregon down to Central Florida, Adrian Heath‘s Lions took no mercy on their weary legged opposition.
Taking only 13 minutes to go ahead through Seb Hines, the moment of the match belonged to Brek Shea.
Scoring a sublime long range arrowed shot in the 32nd minute, opposition goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey stood absolutely no chance.
Fanendo Adi also saw a penalty saved by Joe Bendik earlier in the game.
Orlando City SC 4 Portland Timbers 1 – Highlights – April 3, 2016 (Credit: SPORTS NEWS)
Despite being 2015 MLS Cup champions and boasting one of the most talented rosters in all of Major League Soccer, Orlando City SC have a 100% record against Caleb Porter’s side.
Only facing Timbers twice in MLS so far, City first travelled to Providence Park back in April 2015.
Scoring in BOTH head-to-heads so far, Kaká is somebody who enjoys facing Portland Timbers.
With our Brazilian captain potentially embarking on his last few games in a purple jersey, let’s hope he can make it a hat-trick against the Rose City side.
Portland Timbers 0 Orlando City SC 2 – Highlights – April 12, 2017 (Credit: Portland Timbers)
Portland Timbers form
Only losing two MLS fixtures at Providence Park all season long, this is part of the reason why Timbers are near the Western Conference summit.
Caleb Porter’s side have won their last THREE consecutive home fixtures in the Rose City so Orlando City SC face a massive test here.
Sweeping aside LA Galaxy (3-1), New York Red Bulls (2-0) and Colorado Rapids (2-1) during August, Portland Timbers are a side used to having things their own way.
Firmly in the running to win the 2017 MLS Golden Boot race on 18 strikes so far, everybody knows about the talent that Diego Valeri possesses.
A 2017 MLS All-Star Game selection earlier this year, the 31-year-old set a new Major League Soccer record last weekend.
Despite Timbers losing 2-1 at Real Salt Lake, Diego Valeri’s goal ensured that El Masetro is the only player in MLS history to have scored in eight consecutive games.
Orlando City SC defence, beware!
Real Salt Lake 2 Portland Timbers 1 – Highlights – September 16, 2017 (Credit: Real Salt Lake)
There’s no doubt that Orlando City SC are facing a side who knows where the back of the net is!
Portland Timbers have scored AT LEAST TWO GOALS in SEVEN of their last EIGHT home fixtures in Major League Soccer.
Defeating Colorado Rapids 2-1 the last time they played at home on August 23rd, Diego Valeri and Darlington Nagbe goals stole all three points.
With plenty of goalscorers in Caleb Porter’s midfield, we’ll need to work awfully hard to stifle a side who will undoubtedly boss possession.
Orlando City SC form
Since entering Major League Soccer, Orlando City SC have been one of the most entertaining sides to watch as a neutral.
For us City fans, some games have been far too entertaining to bear with the Lions still not able to shake their habit of conceding way too many goals.
This theme remains with Orlando City SC‘s last FIVE away fixtures producing OVER 2.5 GOALS.