Orlando City SC and Atlanta United FC are two teams on totally different ends of the spectrum at this point in the season. On one end, Atlanta currently sits in first-place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference and come into tonight’s match winners of three of the last five. The same can’t be said for Orlando, as the team has struggled to play a complete game on both ends. Last match that ended in a draw for Orlando was three weeks ago against the New England Revolution in a 3-3 stalemate.
The Lions will get another shot at trying to turn around their fortunes and make a run towards the postseason as they welcome United FC into Orlando City Stadium tonight for a 8 p.m. kickoff. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN and gives the Lions an opportunity to impress those around the country. We take a closer look at some of the keys to tonight’s matchup.
Creativity at its finest
Orlando City’s strikers will have to be on their proverbial ‘A’ game against an Atlanta United defense that’s amongst the best in the MLS. James O’Connor will need his midfielders to be creative in setting up ample of scoring opportunities for the likes of Dom Dwyer and Sacha Kljestan. If Orlando is going to pull off the upset, they’ll need both players to show up tonight.
Consistency in the net
Whether it’s Joe Bendik or Earl Edwards Jr. in at goal, what has been evident is neither can find any sort of consistency staying put. Bendik, who started nearly every contest last season for Orlando, made his first start in nearly a month against DC United and yielded three costly goals.
Can homefield play a factor on the national stage?
No matter where Orlando City has played lately, results have remained the same. But tonight presents a different kind of scenario, as the Lions face United FC in front of a nationally broadcasted match.