LAFC at Orlando City SC
Saturday, April 2, 2022
4:30 p.m. PT
Exploria Stadium - Orlando, FL
TV: KCOP 13 / Estrella TV Ch. 62
RADIO: 710 AM ESPN, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM
LAFC is looking to remain undefeated in 2022 on Saturday when they head to Florida for the second time this season to take on Orlando City. Orlando comes into the match 2-2-1 (8 points), fresh off a difficult 1-1 tie in Portland in their last match.
Always tough at home – Orlando City will use their quickness and counter attacking abilities to test an LAFC defense that has been one of the best so far in MLS. The two goals allowed by LAFC is the second-lowest in the league this season, trailing only Chicago, and they have done it while starting a different back four in each match.
LAFC welcomes back Kellyn Acosta (USA), Max Crépeau (Canada), Doneil Henry (Canada), Diego Palacios (Ecuador) and José Cifuentes (Ecuador) from international duty this week. All five players were with national teams who qualified for the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
This is another match that will feature plenty of familiar faces on the pitch and on the sidelines. Orlando defender Joao Moutinho was the first draft pick in LAFC history. He was the number one selection in the 2018 MLS Draft and appeared in 14 games for LAFC in their inaugural season, scoring one goal. He also started and played 90 minutes in LAFC’s inaugural match vs. Seattle on March 4, 2018. LAFC defender Mamadou Fall is returning to the area, after attending the Soccer Institute of Montverde Academy in Orlando for high school from 2018-2020. LAFC midfielder Francisco Ginella and Orlando SC midfielder Cesar Araujo played together at Wanders in the Uruguayan First Division in 2019, and LAFC forward Bryan Rodriguez was teammates with Orlando forward Facundo Torres from 2018-2019 at Penarol in Uruguay. Finally, Orlando head coach Oscar Pareja and assistant coach Josema Bazan coached FC Dallas from 2014-2018. During that time, they coached LAFC defender Ryan Hollingshead and LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta. Hollingshead was a rookie in 2014 and Acosta was an 18-year old phenom when Pareja took over in Dallas.
Orlando is fast. Really fast. They boast some of the quickest players in MLS, with their right back Ruan clocking in as one of the speediest players in the entire league last season. They will look to take advantage of that speed all over the field, and are good in offensive transition. Look for goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to attempt quick outlets off of corners and set pieces to trigger a quick attack. Their new Young Designated Player, Facundo Torres brings a lot of quality to their team, and he will be the focal point of the Orlando City attack as he looks to get the ball to Alexandre Pato or Ercan Kara. A former Brazilian international has played at the highest levels in Europe like AC Milan, Chelsea and Villarreal, he brings individual brilliance to the attack and can create dangerous moments.
LAFC WILL WIN IF
Continue to play the game the Black & Gold way – by limiting big chances on defense and looking to expose moments when Orlando is pushed far up the field in transition. LAFC will look to be patient and move the ball quickly to break down Orlando’s defense.
ORLANDO CAN WIN IF
They get high-quality performances from Torres and Pato, and their central midfield duo of Junior Urso (two goals in 2022) and Cesar Araujo consistently win the ball back off of turnovers and make life difficult all game long for the LAFC attack.
Inspired by Kingdom Heartsdeveloped by Square Enix (2002).