Tonight Orlando City's MLS side is home at Camping World Stadium to face the Montreal Impact. The match is critical for the home side, who have been hemorrhaging points at home by playing to uninspired draws and dropping points on the road like a leaky sieve as they have lost badly in most of their away matches.
And tonight they face one of the best teams in the East, as the Montreal Impact come in two points off the conference lead and five points ahead of Orlando City. The question on the minds of Orlando City fans is whether we will see more of the same or if we'll finally see some inspired play.
More of the Same?
If we see more of the same, then readers can expect a very critical blog post tomorrow in my match recap. So far on the season we have seen sloppy passing, careless defending in the midfield, and an almost nonexistent attack outside of the Portland match which seems a lifetime ago.
If Orlando City plays on the same form they have had recently, you will see them make one or two passes before they try a long ball that they give away pointlessly to the other team, and that will be followed by an organized build-up and attack that will see our defenders scrambling back to try to be in the final third of the pitch and shots fired by the Impact to test the mettle of goalkeeper Joe Bendik, whose efforts have been nothing less than superb all season behind a team that seems incapable of mustering the will to win.
In terms of the visiting club, they are coming off four straight draws (both home and away matches), so I know they will be hungry to try to take three points, especially from a club that has been struggling as much as Orlando City has in recent weeks. Didier Drogba is the top player from Montreal to feature in the Audi Player Index, coming in at 6th on the list. But the MLS injury report lists him as out for tonight's match with a hip flexor. This could be a legitimate injury, or he could simply want to avoid playing on the artificial surface and risking injury. Other players to watch for Montreal include forwards Ignacio Piatti and Dominic Oduro, as well as defenders Victor Cabrera and Laurent Ciman.
Regardless of the time of the goals and the score line on the board, the last six matches for Orlando City have felt like losses because the team have allowed their opponents to dictate the pace of the game and to keep constant pressure on our goal. If we see the same lackluster, uninspired, and poorly-organized play from the home side tonight, then I think it will be a bad home loss.
Last week's match at Sporting KC was simply embarrassing. The lads played so poorly that even they had to be disgusted with their performance at the end of the match. It's possible that one or more players within the team have taken it on themselves to rally the rest of their teammates in the wake of that loss and come out of the tunnel tonight loaded for bear and determined to win at any cost.
I say it's possible, but then it's also possible that when the Powerball numbers are pulled tonight I might be a winner. I'm not holding my breath, nor am I wagering my retirement on that possibility. Instead, I'm hopeful that someone in the locker room has figured out an answer for whatever funk seems to have fallen over the lads and that they will snap out of it tonight to look like a real team instead of a bunch of recreational league misfits that have never been on the same pitch together.
I've predicted wins for the last few home matches and I've been wrong. So today I'm going to bet that my inaccurate prediction streak holds up, and I'm going to predict a 2 - 1 loss. Right now I cannot predict an Orlando City win until they show me in game performance that they have found the will to win again.
What about you? Do you believe it's a cardinal sin to predict against your team even if they're playing like doggy poo? Do you believe Orlando City will find enough inspiration and creativity to win tonight? Let me know in the comments below!