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Scouting Report: How good is Oscar Pareja’s Orlando City?

We know they’ll be without a couple of key players tomorrow but will that even matter?

MLS: US Open Cup-Inter Miami CF at Orlando City SC Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Apologies, friends. It’s finals week, so I’m a bit swamped. This will be the short, short version of who’s on deck.

This week FC Dallas travels to Florida to take on Orlando City and former coach Oscar Pareja. The Lions sit third in the East with a record of 6W-4L-3D and 19 points. However, their 16 goals and 17 goals against are very middle of the pack. If you’ve not been following them, they’ve struggled to replace the departed Daryl Dike, Nani, and Chris Mueller. To replace them, Orlando signed Ercan Kara (Rapid Vienna), Facundo Torres (Penarol), and … and... they resigned Pato. Hmm.

Over at MLS soccer, Sam Jones wrote, “...American Soccer Analysis’ expected points model has them as the 20th-best team in the league while the actual points model (aka the standings) has them on 20 points and tied for first in the East.”

Recent Results

Date Home Score Away
Date Home Score Away
4/24 Orlando City 0-3 NYRB
4/30 Orlando City 2-1 Charlotte
5/7 Montreal 4-1 Orlando City
5/10 USOC Orlando City 2-1 Philadelphia
5/14 Toronto 0-1 Orlando City
5/22 Austin 2-2 Orlando City
5/25 USOC Orlando City 1 (4) - 1 (2) Inter Miami

The word I hear on Orlando is the cliché about beating bad teams and losing to good teams. They’ve recently picked up wins against Toronto and Charlotte but lost (badly) to Red Bulls and Montreal. They picked up a draw against Austin despite picking up two red cards, so starters Araujo and Schlegel will miss the match against Dallas.

Like every other team in MLS, Orlando City will go probably go as far as their DPs take them, which at the moment is about half as far as Jesus has gone (hence the 20th in the league based on the model that Jones notes above). Ercan Kara leads the line with three goals. Listed as a midfielder but playing on the wing, Facundo Torres, the 22-year-old Uruguayan, has two. Playing in the ten role, Mauricio Pereyra leads the team with five assists and a respectable 24 key passes, but no goals.

Player Notes for Orlando City:

  1. Pedro Gallese: He’s not having a great year so far: 16 goals allowed against 29 saves. According to American Soccer Analysis, his G-xG is 1.74 (Paes is 8th in the league in the category at –1.57 [Dayne St. Clair is crushing the competition with –5.5]).
  2. Ercan Kara: The 26-year-old Austrian is listed at 6’4”. He seems like a handful, but only 13 shots so far this season – one goal from his head and two from his right foot. Surely that’s not the production the club was hoping for in a DP striker.

Line Up Prediction: 4-2-3-1

Kara
Torres Pereyra Urso
Perea Mendez
Moutinho Janssen Williams Texeira
Gallese

Many of these players were on the field midweek against Miami in Open Cup play after playing down two men to Austin on Sunday, so don’t be surprised if they look tired. If you’ve seen them play more than the handful of highlights I’ve seen, please add your comments down below.

Availability

Suspended: Araujo (red card), Schlegel (red card)

OUT: Antonio Carlos (left thigh), Silvester van der Water (left lower leg), Benji Michel (right lower leg)

Game Time:

6:30 PM
Exploria Stadium
Temperature: 90 degrees