Orlando City favorite Aurelien Collin is a definite scratch for Sunday's match against LA Galaxy. He joins an increasing list of injured and unavailable players, making coach Adrian Heath's job of picking a starting lineup for today's match that much more difficult. In addition to Collin being out for today's match, Kevin Molino is out for the season with an ACL injury, and Pedro Ribeiro is out another one or two months with a hamstring injury.
There is one and perhaps two bright spots for today. International player Martin Paterson has been declared fit and available for the match, and for over a month Coach has been saying that GK Tally Hall "is just two weeks away." Hall was widely presumed to be the number one keeper on the Orlando City roster once he recovered from the injury that took him off the pitch in 2014, when he was playing with the Houston Dynamo. As I mentioned earlier in the week, I love the experience and accolades and veteran leadership that Donovan Ricketts has brought to Orlando City, but once Hall is fit, I think we'll need a younger and slightly faster keeper to help cover for the mistakes being made by a mostly young and inexperienced defensive backfield, now that Molino's injury appears to move Shea forward on the pitch and with Collin being out of the lineup at least for this game. Unfortunately, however, it doesn't appear as though Hall is quite ready to return.
In fact, according to Orlando City beat reporter Paul Tenorio, there are only 17 players available for the match: GKs Donovan Ricketts, Earl Edwards Jr., Josh Ford; Ds Luke Boden, Sean St. Ledger, Rafael Ramos, Tyler Turner; MFs Eric Avila, Darwin Cerén, Harrison Heath, Kaká, Amobi Okugo, Carlos Rivas, Brek Shea; Fs Cyle Larin, Danny Mwanga, Martin Paterson.
A Lineup Conjecture
So if we were looking at a lineup for today, I might consider Luke Boden, Rafael Ramos, Sean St. Ledger, and Tyler Turner on Defense, Eric Avila, Darwin Ceren, Brek Shea, and Kaka at Midfield, and a dual attack up top of Cyle Larin and Martin Paterson. Beyond that I'm not sure who we would put in goal. Edwards looked good when he had the chance to play against Ponte Preta in the friendly match a couple of weeks ago. Regardless of whether you love Ricketts or not, asking a 37 year-old keeper to play three matches in nine days is a tall order, so it might be a natural place to give him a game off anyway, regardless of how the DC United match ended. So if I were setting the lineup, I might throw Earl Edwards Jr. in goal today.
What about you? Do you think this would be a good lineup against the Galaxy? I have to admit I know little to nothing about how these players would match up against the individuals on the Galaxy roster, and I will always trust the Gaffer to put the best lineup on the pitch that he thinks can get the job done. So who do you think would give us the best chance of winning? Do you like my lineup choices or would you throw a different Starting XI on the pitch?