Saturday sees the return of Dom Dwyer and Uri Rosell to Kansas City, but this time as enemies. I connected with our sister blog, The Mane Land, to get some intel ahead of the match.
Cody Bradley: Orlando is rocking a goal differential of -21. What gives you hope they could turn things around and sneak into the playoffs?
Logan Oliver: While there’s definitely hope they’ll turn things around, playoffs may not be part of that this season. There has been no semblance of stability on the back line, which has led to the -21 goal differential and that hasn’t changed much under new Head Coach James O’Connor, who has been tinkering with personnel especially on defense. But there are definite improvements all over the pitch under the new boss, who has improved the goal scoring by leaps and bounds since he came in. Yoshimar Yotun is a player capable of changing a match in an instant (though he’s with Peru this weekend) and Dom Dwyer has been a reliable scorer for the Lions this season. Cristian Higuita has taken two steps forward and is becoming a weapon in midfield and the early returns on Carlos Ascues have been very good.
CB: Dwyer was treated something like a Messiah, a chosen one, when he arrived in Orlando. Has he lived up to the lofty expectations? Anything you have been surprised about - good or bad?
LO: Dom has been excellent since his return last season and one of the most consistent players on the roster. He’s got 16 goals and four assists in just 31 appearances and his off-ball movement has opened things up for the other attackers. There hasn’t been too much surprising about Dwyer because of his reliability -- he still scores when he wants and has four in his last five matches.
CB: With ten losses & just two wins on the road, what kind of tactics are you expecting from James O’Connor in The Blue Hell this weekend?
LO: It’s almost impossible to guess what personnel O’Connor will roll out but chances are he’ll be conservative on the road in a difficult environment. One of the biggest improvements Orlando has seen under James is the defensive organization and playing compact when the situation requires it. Without Yotun, Orlando loses a lot of its deadliness on set pieces, which means if City is going to score chances are the goals will have to come in the run of play. If Chris Mueller or Josue Colman are in the starting lineup, expect OCSC to use them as an outlet to spark counters and overlap with right back Scott Sutter, who has three goals in the last four games.
The Mane Land Lineup Prediction:
Chances are it will be a 4-2-3-1 but O’Connor likes to throw out wildcards. Yoshi Yotun, Amro Tarek, and Mohamed El-Munir are all with their respective national teams. Right to left:
Joe Bendik; Scott Sutter, Carlos Ascues, Shane O’Neill, Jonathan Spector; Will Johnson, Uri Rosell; Cristian Higuita, Sacha Kljestan, Chris Mueller; Dom Dwyer
For my answers to Logan’s questions, CLICK HERE!