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Orlando City v. Philadelphia: Match Recap

THREE FUCKING POINTS BABY!

I'm loaded up on Cafe Bustelo and still pumped up from last night so this write up is going to be fun. What a match from the Lions last night, Philly was always going to be a tough one with our track record with that club but damn Orlando has a different swagger these days.

Man Crush Monday - Giles Barnes: I think we've got ourselves a hell of a player on our hands. On a day that Brek Shea was shown red in Vancouver, Giles Barnes was god damn brilliant in Orlando. Big GB showed off his pace, strength, hustle and just overall ability to boss a match. Larin for obvious reasons will get the headlines for his brace but it was Barnes who really impressed the crowd. Barnes in two matches has shown more passion than Brek ever showed in his two seasons in Orlando and that's all we ever ask for. I need to also address the clear elephant in the room, his hair. This dudes hair is 10/10 for real.

Dat Guy Larin: 3 goals in 2 matches? Dat Guy is off and running in 2017. The combination of Larin and Rivas up top has done wonders for Larin's goal tally and it will inevitably pay off for Rivas too. Cyle has gotten heat in the past for being "too lazy" and rightfully so, he's a big #9 that's just his game. Now with Carlos "Usain Bolt Jr." Rivas in the mix with his pace and dribble, Larin can afford to lay off a little which will do wonders for his stamina in the late stages of matches. Keep doing your thing, homie.

MPG a real G: Nothing I mean nothing beats seeing your 5'5 midfielder going face to face with an opposing player twice his size. Orlando City should've made the trade for MPG sooner than they did because the man is simply brilliant. 

Defense? We talking about defense: I surely will jinx it by saying this but the defense has been a joy to watch the first two matches of this campaign. A 2-1 lead surely would've been squandered this time last year but it's clear that Kreis is happy with his D nowadays.... uh wut. Spector and Aja are a joy to watch, clearing anything that comes their way in the air and Toia/Johnson doing wonders on the wings. With a top keeper in Joe Bendik, this team needed a quality back line to support him and we just might have found it. 

What's Next: The downside of a new season is that there's almost always an international break right around the corner. Orlando City are off for the next two weeks and will be back in action on April 1st against Columbus Crew. In the mean time, Orlando City B kickoff their 2017 campaign away at MLS hopefuls Tampa Bay Rowdies, hahahahahahaha sorry I laughed while typing that.

Have a great day & Vamos Orlando!

 

Orlando City v. Philadelphia Union Match Preview

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.

Injuries:

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.

Background:

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.

Bendik/Blake Faceoff:

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.

Prediction:

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.

Vamos Orlando! 

 

 

Orlando City v. New Jersey Red Bulls: Match Preview

Happy Cinco de Mayo, ladies and gentlemen. Before you start indulging in the finer things in life such as beer, tacos and pineapple margaritas I bring you the only Orlando City match preview that matters. It's our Lions vs that Red Bulls team that says they're from New York but really they play in a crappy part of Jersey (you can't fool us).

 

Mr. ILF Returns: 

 News broke in the past week that our favorite give no fucks defender Aurelien Collin was being sent to NYRB in exchange for a half eaten snickers and a half off coupon to a Denny's in Poinciana. Not only did this trade send shockwaves among the OCSC faithful but it also leaves us very thin in perhaps our weakest position. While many have already called for OCSC to bring over the cunt known as John Terry, I say screw that. I'd rather us have a tumbleweed play center back.

 

Where In The World Is Kaka? 

Ricky's health has been a huge talking point as of late as our captain has been as absent as a highschool kid with senioritis. How injured is he, you ask? Lets just say, a source close to ILF confirmed Ricky was showing off some sweet dance moves at the recent Denzel Curry show at the Social. This summer will surely be Kaka's last chance at being able to play for his country in a major competition such as the Copa America. However, that shouldn't take away from his club duties because every person knows that club comes before country. We don't care if it's the Copa, get your mind right.

 

Friday Night Lights: 

Nothing beats a Friday night match. It's common knowledge that Friday night matches over the past year have been absolutely LIT. We have researchers at the University of South Dakota working around the clock to figure out why exactly these Friday matches have been nothing less than movies. Is it knowing that you have 2 hours from the time you leave work until kickoff to crush that 12 pack that's sitting under your desk? Is it knowing you can party until 6am and stay in bed for the next two days? Find out next time on ILF Blog. 

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Revenge Is Sweet: 

We did it last week against the Rev's and we're going to do it this Friday against those Red Bull nerds. The Rev's scored a controversial late equalizer at our home, so what did we do? We went up there two weeks later and scored a late equalizer. Buy Carlos Rivas a beer when you see him next. NYRB came to the City Beautiful last year and let's just say it was madness. We didn't forget Sacha Kljestan's diving performance or Dax McCarty's punk ass brother trying to make his way into our section. Mix all that with the recent drama when City went up Harrison, NJ and the fact it's a Friday night and we have ourselves something epic. 

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Prediction: 

I'm going for a 2-1 Orlando City win on Friday night. If Collin does in fact start for NYRB, he will inevitably score against us because if I know anything about having bad luck as a sports fan it's that things like this ALWAYS happen. I would love to see a squad with Rivas and Molino on the wings which if Kaka is injured seems unlikely. Inchy will most likely go with a 10 man squad as Nocerino will surely start and be absolutely useless. Anyways, make sure you get off work early tomorrow to beat traffic and grab some cold ones cause Friday night is going to be a LITUATION. 

I'm out! 

Vamos Orlando!