Orlando City SC (3-5-3)–one of the two 2015 expansion teams–is coming out West to showcase their over-the-hill striker Ricardo Kaka in front of a no-chance-of-ever-selling-out crowd at Levi’s Stadium.
The Quakes (5-4-2) are coming off their most dominant win of the season (don’t believe me?), and are looking to continue the momentum of a 4-game unbeaten streak.
Orlando City SC
Despite their previous 2-5-3 record, the Lions embarrassed the Gals 4-0 at home–amid reports of fans shining lasers into the eyes of Galaxy players–with four different players scoring a goal: Eric Avyla, Superdraft first-pick Cyle Larin, DP Kaka, and Dawrin Ceren. Not bad a for a team that had averaged a 0.90 goals/game in their previous 10 matches. Leftback-turned-midfielder Brek Shea is experiencing a remarkable turn-around since being used as a midfielder, and seems ready to return to the USMNT. Kaka has four goals on the season. Superdraft Larin is maturing into a goal-scorer with four goals in eight games played. However, I think a little more consistency is needed before we start assuming Orlando is a great team.
I am expecting Orlando to use a similar formation they have been using: a 4-2-3-1 with Shea, Kaka, Avila, and Larin up top. Let me also say that I think Cyle Larin will be an MLS Superstar.
Despite last week’s dominating win, I am not on board with OCSC as a power-house team. The Gals were missing key defender Omar Gonzalez and midfielder Baggio Hucidic was forced to play as a defensive left-wing. One of the goals was also a PK goal, so their four-goal performance is probably an outlier for their offense and not a sign of things to come.
I also think the Quakes will carry over the beautiful soccer they played last week and net two goals of their own. Since Wondo is on the 100-goal watch, I would expect the OCSC defense (namely Luke Boden and Irish International Sean St. Ledger) to play him much tighter than normal, allowing Adam Jahn some space in the box to get his second of the season. I’m also expecting Nyassi to step up and score since he’s been relatively quiet, although I would not be surprised if MPG gets his first of the season.
Don’t expect the Quakes to deviate from the 4-1-4-1 they’ve been using with Jahn up top, especially with Innocent out. Also look for Wondo to play alongside Jahn on the attack for a 4-1-3-2 look. I’m expecting Wynne, Bernardez, Goodson, and Stewart to start on defense, Alashe as DM, Nyassi, MPG, Wondo, and Shea at mid, and Jahn up top.
I am also predicting a sparse attendance at Levi’s. Maybe 20,000?
Final Score Prediction:
2-0 Quakes. Sorry, Lions. Before the L.A. match, you were 2-5-3 in 10 games, and had a -5 goal differential. One game against an Gals team missing half its defense doesn’t make me a believer. Let’s see how you do against a real defensive backline, which I doubt will be much. #COYQ!!
Also, welcome back, Mark Watson!
*All stats are at the time of publication and will change throughout the year
Photo Credit: Orlando City SC Facebook Page