This just in: Orlando City is still a pretty lousy team, and New York Red Bulls might be contenders to repeat for the Supporters Shield this season.
That’s kind of all you need to know going into tomorrow’s match with NYRB at Red Bulls Arena. Orlando City is coming off of a demoralizing 3 - 1 choke job at home where the team made every defensive mistake possible and only managed to put two shots on target all afternoon against the hapless Montreal Impact. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls crushed the only team worse than Orlando City last year 4 - 1 at home last week in a dominating performance over San Jose.
I don’t see any reason that any observers should expect that to change.
Will Johnson left last Saturday’s match with a concussion, and has been reported on concussion protocol all week and not at practices. I think it doubtful they would risk him traveling with the team, so I’m calling him a scratch for Saturday. Kamal Miller also was called up for Canada and is unavailable. As far as I know Tesho Akindele and the other players who have been injured haven’t been announced as fully fit. And there have been issues with recent signing Robin Jansson’s paperwork that could prevent him from being available for selection for tomorrow’s match. Coach James O’Connor has been saying he’s hopeful Jannson could play, but he was out of the country as recently as Wednesday, and I am not sure of his availability even if he is able to get back and re-join the team for Saturday. And of course in the US v ECU friendly Thursday night, Orlando City’s Sebastian Mendez played a full 90 minutes for Ecuador, so I’m counting him out for Saturday.
Starting XI Prediction
I’m not necessarily thrilled about the lineup, and my expectations for the team this season took a huge hit after last Saturday’s game. If we can’t even draw with marginal teams at home, then we are a carbon copy of last year’s pathetic Orlando City team and that’s very disappointing to me. Minus the injuries I look for a lot of the same starters we’ve seen in the first few games, and to see some of the players who have given us minutes off the bench be pushed into the starting rotation.
This one could be ugly. At the same time, NYRB have sent a lot of players to International camps for this round of friendlies, so they are not going to be at full strength. Still I don’t see any reason to expect a score line that looks better than last week. I will give NYRB the win in this one by the count of 3 - 1.
New Feature: Renewal Index
This is Orlando City’s fifth MLS season. And I’ve held season tickets since before the club was in MLS. And now in four successive years I have seen the club perform worse in points and finish lower on the table. So this year is the year that Orlando City has to prove to me they are worth me investing money to continue buying season tickets. Every week they are below the playoff line they urge me to keep my money in my wallet next season. Sports is entertainment, and it’s just not a very entertaining product when they don’t go out and win on a regular basis. It’s a long season yet, and they have time to win me back for another year. But right now consider me doubtful for renewing.