Orlando City are in town for the first time in Club history. While the Lions have lost eight matches in a row, no opponent should be taken lightly. Especially, when the opposing side has just appointed a new coach.
Expect Orlando City to come out eager to impress the new boss, and with LAFC playing its third match in eight days, this is no sure thing at Banc of California Stadium.
Here are the Toyota Keys to the Match against Orlando City:
Press, Press, Press
James O'Connor was hired by the Lions on June 29 and will have his first match in charge in LA. With the new coach implementing a new system, you've got to press the opposition early.
Orlando City players are likely still getting the hang of O'Connor's 3-4-3, despite shifting to the formation in the last two matches. That means when building out of the back and through midfield, there will be times they get their angles wrong, or a player drops a ball into a bad area of the pitch, or even straight up misses a guy. It'll take some time to smooth things out. So LAFC, who is a very good pressing team, should put Orlando City on the back foot from the opening whistle.
It's no rocket science. The closer you win the ball to the oppositions goal, the more chances you can create. Cause some chaos out there before your opposite number can settle in.
Knock It Around
It'd probably be a cliché if it wasn't actually true so often. A new manager always seems injects a bit of spirit and energy into a club in the first couple of matches. But that enthusiasm will be something Orlando City needs to harness properly or LAFC can use it against them.
Look to get midfielders like Benny Feilhaber, Lee Nugyen, and Mark-Anthony Kaye on the ball and connect passes. Force Orlando City to chase a bit and they are likely to overcommit. That will open spaces for attacking players and lanes for through balls.
Get Behind The Backline
Last week against Atlanta, Orlando City really struggled with runners getting behind its three-man backline. They just didn't have the organization or speed to deal with the likes of Josef Martinez and Miguel Almiron.
When you have three center backs, the understanding between all three is that much more important. You have to be on the same page passing off players and you can't get stretched. LAFC forwards should look to make back-shoulder runs, and when the center backs are occupied, try to get runners from midfield to force decisions.