Your boy is back and I'm here with a match day preview for you ladies and gents! It's been awhile I'll admit, I spent the majority of the off season catching up on sleep, eating an unhealthy amount of mozzarella sticks and looking at old pictures of Lewis Neal. Anyways, the season on paper has gotten off to a perfect start. 3 points against NYCFC, a letter from Third Rail asking for an apology, smoke in the stadium, what else could you ask for? Last weekends postponement of the match against New England was a huge let down especially for those that traveled but nevertheless we'll start the 2017 season off with two home matches in a row. With that all said, I bring you my match preview for this upcoming Saturday's match between Orlando City and the Philadelphia "We really play in Chester" Union.
Remember when I said the season started perfect on paper? Well that's cause we're now without Kaka for 6 weeks, Carlos Rivas for an undetermined amount of time and Seb Hines for 6 weeks. Yes, Kaka will be 35 in April and his legs are basically shot at this point but the threat of Kaka on the pitch is better than not having him at all. We're probably looking at the end of April before we see our captain playing again. The Rivas injury news is a bummer because word has been going around that this could be his breakout season where he puts it all together. I never wish injury on any player or opponent so I'll simply wish Hines a speedy recovery and hope he can at least be a reliable rotational player when he returns.
I hate to say it but Orlando City has had it's struggles against the Union in the past. In their last 5 meetings, Orlando has compiled a 1-2-2 record including a loss late in the 2015 season ending OCSC's playoff chances and a late free kick by Philly last May to rob OCSC of all 3 points.
It's a match up between the best goalkeeper in MLS and some guy named Andre Blake. Now that it looks like Joe might have a solid line in front of him, his numbers will show how much of a class MLS goalkeeper he really is. This time last year I gave Bendik a lot crap for silly mistakes but as the season progressed he not only owned up to his mistakes but corrected them and now will be a Lion for the foreseeable future with his new three year contract. Saturday could be a low scoring affair with two of the best goalkeepers in MLS.
A Saturday evening match in Orlando City's new stadium? That place is going to be next level LIT. I'm excited to see if the likes of Spector, Toia and Will Johnson can put in brilliant shifts like they did against NYCFC and if Barnes can take on the roll of filling Kaka's boots while he's out. I fully expect a close match but with Orlando City being well rested after last weekends postponement, I can see the Lions taking this one 2-1.