Preview: Inter Fort Lauderdale (h).
When? Saturday July 9, 5 p.m. PT, 8 p.m. ET and 01:00 a.m. (10/7).
Where? Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL.
How can I catch the action? The game will be broadcast on MLS Live, DAZN and ESPN+. For residents of Central Florida, it's Fox 35 Plus and LionNation TV. Radio commentary is available on 96.9 The Game and 97.9 Accion.
For us UK folk it's FreeSports (Sky channel 422), and via the FreeSports website/app.
I'm going to be totally honest here, and say I've never dreaded a Florida derby more. Orlando City are a bit of a mess right now, and Fort Lauderdale seem to have turned a corner. That being said, I'm choosing to be optimistic. A win here could really give our season the jumpstart that it so desperately needs.
So, without further ado, let's get into the latest installment of the Sunshine Clasico.
Inter Fort Lauderdale's style
You mean apart from illegal transfers?
Aside from that, Fort Lauderdale are starting to find their feet in MLS, having not made the play-offs in each of their first 2 seasons, they're hoping to make it 3rd time lucky in 2022. The acquisition of Deandre Yedlin signified a change in tactics for Phil Neville. Which, honestly, as an England fan, is a sentence I never thought I'd say. They primarily use a back 3 with wing-backs, which is a system that allows Yedlin, and Robert Taylor on the other side, to get up and down the flanks and support the attack by making the pitch as wide as possible (figure 1).
Their midfield double pivot (Jean Mota and Victor Ulloa) then tend to give Taylor and Yedlin the security blanket they need to get forward and support the 3 front men. It's going to be important for Orlando to stop their wing-backs from getting forward, and to ensure they push up on the Fort Lauderdale midfield, who like to try and dictate the tempo of the game.
Expect Fort Lauderdale to get the ball forward quickly, particularly when they attack down the sides. Their direct style allows them to create chances (figure 2); they just need to start finishing them. Here's to hoping they leave their shooting boots at home this weekend...
Figure 1 shows Taylor and Yedlin's heatmap vs Dallas.
Figure 2 shows Fort Lauderdale's expected goals statistics vs Dallas.
For Fort Lauderdale, Robbie Robinson is listed as out, according to the latest MLS injury report. Aside from that, they have a full squad to choose from.
As for Orlando City, Mauricio Pereyra is back in training, but remains a doubt. Joao Moutinho is questionable. Moutinho was in a walking boot on Thursday, as per Austin David.
This section will be updated as new information becomes available.
Possible starting XI
Fort Lauderdale tend to line up with a 3-4-3 formation, and I'd expect the same in Orlando:
Campana is the floppy flamingo's leading goalscorer with 8. He was on the bench last time out, but I'd be surprised if we didn't see him from the start this weekend. In addition to his 8 goals, he has 1 assist in 17 games. He came off the bench in their last game and scored a goal to rescue a point.
Inter Fort Lauderdale have turned something of a corner of late; Phil Neville's team has only lost 1 of their last 9 in all competitions. They have a 6-4-7 record and are sat 9th in the standings, 3 points below the line.
Orlando City, on the other hand, have only 2 wins in their last 7. The Lions are 6th with a 7-4-7 record.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com
Cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Line-up graphic courtesy of chosen11.com
Training b-roll and media availability footage courtesy of Orlando City SC.