Ahead of tonight’s Group A finale, we caught up with Ben Miller at The Mane Land, our fellow SB Nation site that covers Orlando City. You can read my answers to Ben’s questions over at The Mane Land.
1.) What are some names to know from Orlando? What names should Union fans be listening for on the broadcast?
Nani is an obvious answer to that question, last season he made it very clear what he’s still capable of and he’s a very important player for this team. But the other two big names to watch are Chris Mueller and Pedro Gallese. Mueller has 3 goals in the two MLS is Back games that Orlando has played, and has provided a big offensive spark. Gallese meanwhile, was immense in goal during the win over NYCFC last week. He made seven saves, several of the spectacular variety, and helped Orlando weather several offensive storms from New York that allowed the team to regroup and ultimately put the game away.
2.) What is the best weakness for the Union to capitalize on against Orlando?
Simply put, the back line. Orlando’s CB pairing last year of Lamine Sane and Robin Jansson was pretty sturdy, but after Sane’s departure Antonio Carlos has been the new starting CB partner for Jansson. While the defense hasn’t necessarily been bad, they just don’t look settled and comfortable yet, which I suppose isn’t all that surprising having only played four games together. Still, there were multiple times against both Miami and NYCFC where things were very sloppy at the back, especially when defending crosses and set pieces. If the Union are able to stretch the field and pull defenders out of their natural positions then Philly should definitely have some joy.
3.) Where does Orlando’s tactical strength lie?
Orlando has been very good when it comes to attacking down the right hand side. Against NYCFC especially, Ruan made life very difficult for New York’s defenders, and with either Mueller or Nani playing ahead of him down that right hand side there’s usually a ton of danger coming down that flank. If Orlando is able to get Ruan high up the field and feed him the ball in those advanced positions then good things usually happen.
4.) Are there any abnormalities to expect from Orlando (i.e. missing players, change in lineup or tactics, etc.)?
To the best of my knowledge Orlando shouldn’t have anyone unavailable for this one. Expect to see another 4-2-3-1 and based off what happened in the NYCFC game, don’t be surprised if the Lions press very hard and energetically for the first quarter of an hour.