The Summer of Stress continues as Orlando City travel all the way to the West Coast for a midweek match against San Jose. The Earthquakes are coming off a brutal 3 - 0 loss at Colorado, while Orlando City is feeling a bit glum about dropping the first points of the season at home in a 2 - 2 draw with Sporting KC at the Orlando City Stadium.
No road match in MLS is ever easy, and this match is no exception: San Jose is currently holding a playoff spot, and they are on a seven-match unbeaten streak at home, a mark that stretches back into the 2016 season. And the road has been especially unkind to Orlando City, who have only managed three points and a record of 1 - 3 - 0 on the road so far in 2017. With San Jose occupying a playoff spot in the West (currently 5th place) the Lions cannot expect anything but a tough match to await them on the West Coast on Wednesday night.
Players to Watch
The first name that comes to mind when thinking of scorers in San Jose is Chris Wondolowski, who has already tallied four goals in eleven matches. But this season, the Earthquakes already have three other players that have scored more than one goal: Midfielder Anibal Godoy, Defender/Midfielder Florian Jungwirth, and Midfielder Jahmir Hyka. As a team, the Quakes have tallied 12 goals on the season and they have surrendered 13, putting them just below even on goal differential.
Meanwhile, Orlando City only boasts two multi-goal scorers on the roster, with the Captain, Kaka, having 3 goals and Cyle Larin scoring seven so far in the first ten matches. And Orlando City is all even in scoring, having scored 13 goals and allowing an equal number so far this year.
Fun with Stats and Other Meaningless Numbers
Last season the MLS debuted the Audi Player Index, which purports to give a statistical ranking to each player on each team based on a number of criteria. So for today's post, I thought it might be fun to compare rankings by position group and by team to see how the numbers say San Jose and Orlando City should match up. As the heading implies, this is a statistical analysis, so it's only good for telling you what has happened so far and has no bearing on what may happen in the future.
|San Jose||Orlando City|
For the table above, only the top 3 forwards, top 7 midfielders, top 5 defenders, and top goalkeeper were considered for each team. As you can see, San Jose and Orlando City are pretty even on the top ranked player at each position (Orlando City with the best individual striker and keeper; San Jose with the best individual midfielder and defender), so you could really use these stats to tell you any kind of story you want to compose. I just think numbers are fun and a lot of people put way too much emphasis on them when trying to figure out which team will win any given match.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Two things are always true when you read this blog: the first is that my crystal ball is decidedly cracked and the second is that I'm a fan first, so my predictions always tend to skew in favor of my team. Having said that, I worry about Orlando City being a bit thin on defense with Tommy Redding out for the U-20 World Cup, so we are likely to have more tired legs on the back line than San Jose. So I'm going to predict that the match will be a repeat of the 2015 meeting between the two clubs and end up a 1 - 1 draw.
What is your prediction on the match? Do you think that Orlando City can steal a win on the cross-country road trip, or do you think they will leave all three points for the home side? Let me know in the comments below!