Preview: Inter Fort Lauderdale (h).
When? Wednesday May 25, 4 p.m. PT, 7 p.m. ET and midnight.BST (26/5).
Where? Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL.
How can I catch the action? The game is being broadcast on ESPN+ for residents of North America. The game is not scheduled for UK broadcast.
This is pretty much the perfect came to follow in the footsteps of the debacle in Austin on Sunday. Orlando City, rightly, are very angry about what happened in Texas. I won't go on about that too much, but let's just say Fort Lauderdale could be in for a rough evening on Wednesday.
I want to really see Orlando City attack this game. Not just because of Sunday, but also because the US Open Cup is probably our greatest chance of silverware this season. So, without further ado, let's get stuck straight into this game.
Fort Lauderdale's style
Other than being total trash? Don't look at me like that. We all know they're the Attack Of The Clones of MLS. They're there, no ones particularly happy about it, but you just have to accept it.
In all seriousness, there's not much of an identity to them. They still seem to believe just building a brand is the most important thing. Like, they're signing Lionel Messi and their stadium is still on stilts. Yes, they finally have a site that's actually in Miami now, but you're dreaming if you think that's going to be ready before Messi retires.
During their recent win over the Red Bulls, and indeed during their draw in Philadelphia, there was a greater resoluteness about them defensively. They were also more dangerous in transition than what they have been in the past; they won a lot of turnovers (figure 1) and were able to turn attack into defence by hitting the full-backs. Their forwards do tend to tuck in and play a little narrow, especially when the full-backs push up (figures 2 & 3). The likes of Ariel Lassiter are more comfortable cutting inside, than crossing the ball (only 11 crosses vs the Red Bulls, for the entire team).
Figure 1 shows Fort Lauderdale's (left) defensive statistics vs the Red Bulls, whole 90.
Figure 2 shows Fort Lauderdale's passing network graphic vs the Red Bulls, whole 90.
According to the latest injury report, Inter Fort Lauderdale are going to be without Ian Fray, Joevin Jones, Nick Marsman, Robbie Robinson and Ryan Sailor. Meanwhile, Damion Lowe, Edison Aczona, Bryce Duke and Kieran Gibbs are all doubts.
Orlando City, on the other hand are only sans Antonio Carlos, Benji Michel and Silvester Van Der Water through injury. Cesar Araujo and Rodrigo Schlegel will serve out their suspension in MLS play.
This section will be updated as new information becomes available.
Possible starting XI
To be honest, I found it quite difficult predicting Fort Lauderdale's XI. They haven't rotated much, despite 2 games in 4 days. They also have a pretty horrendous injury list, although that could ease by the time this is published. I think they'll line-up in a 4-3-3, a little something like this:
Campana has adapted well to life in MLS, following his move from Switzerland. The Ecuadorian has 6 goals and 1 assist so far, and has an overall XG 3.70. It remains to be seen whether he will actually start this game, he may be replaced by Gonzalo Higuain or they could start together given their relative injury woes.
Inter Fort Lauderdale have improved over recent weeks, and I use that term loosely. Their recent 2-0 win over New York Red Bulls was their first MLS win in 5. They currently sit 10th with a 4-3-6 record.
Orlando, on the other hand, are sat 3rd with a 6-3-4 record. The draw in Austin followed an encouraging win in Toronto.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com.
Cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Line-up graphic courtesy of chosen11.com