Week 2 MLS. First road match of the season for OCSC; home opener for CHI.
OCSC record 0-0-1, 1 point; CHI record 0-1-0, 0 points.
OCSC came from behind to draw NYCFC at Orlando City Stadium. Many fans were upset at the refs for missing a blatant hand ball that most analysts, pundits, and neutral observers thought should have awarded Orlando City a PK late in the match. I am among a smaller contingent of fans who thinks that the blame lays more with Orlando City's players, who passed up a good 5 - 8 shot opportunities they could have taken. Since we scored two goals from 13 shots, it stands to reason we probably would have scored three goals from 18 - 20 shots.
Meanwhile, Chicago struck first against LA Galaxy on the road, with CJ Sapong scoring in the 49th minute. But they gave up two goals to the home side, with Zlatan scoring the game winner in the 83rd to secure all three points for Galaxy.
The Fire and the Lions finished the 2018 season in the cellar as both teams missed the playoffs. Chicago finished 10th on 32 points while Orlando City finished 11th on 28 points. Interestingly both teams won only 8 matches last season, and both had identical 6-7-4 home records and both won only two matches on the road all season. The difference in points is that Orlando City failed to draw at all on the road, while Chicago earned four draws away from home.
This season neither side has yet to win, and Orlando City has marginally the better start with a home draw, but they will need a stronger effort to take three points on the road in the Windy City this weekend.
Chicago Stats - Season to Date
|Goals Scored||1||Goals Allowed||2|
|Shots||17||Shots on Target||5|
Chicago Players to Watch
|Scoring Leader:||CJ Sapong||1|
|Shot Leader:||Aleksander Katai||4|
|Passing Leader:||Dax McCarty||92.3%|
|WSC* Rating:||CJ Sapong||7.60|
*WhoScored.com player rating
Orlando City Stats - Season to Date
|Goals Scored||2||Goals Allowed||2|
|Shots||13||Shots on Target||4|
Orlando City Players to Watch
|Scoring Leader:||Chris Mueller||1|
|Assist Leader:||Dom Dwyer||1|
|Shot Leader:||Kyle Smith||3|
|Passing Leader:||Sebastián Méndez||91.4%|
|WSC* Rating:||Chris Mueller||7.93|
*WhoScored.com player rating
Starting XI Prediction
Orlando City was pretty horrible last season. The early indications are that this team is much more cohesive than last year's squad, and the chemistry seems to be starting at a point that is better than we saw nearly all season last year. The problem with reading too much into this is multi-fold. One, it's bloody early in the season. Two, Nani and Dom Dwyer started on the bench last week and I don't expect that to continue for long. And three, it's going to be cloudy, windy, rainy, and cold in Chicago on Saturday. The forecast is for temperatures in the mid-40s with double-digit wind speeds and periods of rain through the afternoon.
I hope to see signs of progress from Orlando City this season, and to me that means stringing together games with multiple goals as well as getting draws on the road, something they couldn't do in 2018. Therefore I will call for another 2 - 2 draw against the Fire. It's less than I hope for, but it's about the best I can bring myself to predict until I get a better sense of whether the start for this team portends something to get excited about week in and week out.
What are you expecting to see? Do you think Orlando City can steal 3 points on the road? Let me know in the comments below.