This game has no shortage of story lines. Brazilian legend Kaka makes his first start in the thin Colorado air, while Canadian international Cyle Larin extends his audition for a possible winter move to FC Porto.
Orlando needs to get a point out of this one in the worst way. With a 5-12-6 (WTL) record, Orlando sits 7th in the Eastern Conference, tied on points with 6th place DC United but behind on Goal Differential. With 27 points, the Lions also sit only a point above the New England Revolution in 8th place. A tie is a respectable result for them, and a loss could be the beginning of the end for a team that is searching for it’s first postseason in club history.
Meanwhile our beloved Rapids have yet to lose a match at home in 2016, with 9 wins, 3 draws, 16 Goals For, 5 Goals Against at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this season. While 5 GA at home is best in MLS this year, 16 GF is second-to-last in the league. Colorado is 3 points behind FC Dallas in the race for Supporters Shield, and have reinvigorated the attack with the addition of Sebastian Le Toux from Philadelphia Union.
What to Watch For
1. Cyle Larin
The Canadian international scored 17 goals in 2015, and is on 12 goals in 2016, with interest from perennial Portuguese powerhouse FC Porto. Larin has speed, instinct, and a great first touch. Look for him to try and time runs in behind Axel Sjoberg in transition and when the Rapids bring up their defenders.
2. Jason Kreis Returns to Colorado
The home fans are plenty familiar with OCSC head coach Jason Kreis, who had the helm of Rocky Mountain rivals Real Salt Lake from 2007 to 2013. Kreis was a mid-season replacement for Englishman Adrian Heath, and has skippered only 3 matches for Magic Kingdom United. He probably gets managing in MLS better than Heath ever did, but he also might not have had time to figure out his team, what makes them tick, and how to get them into their first playoff berth ever.
3. Can Orlando turn on their defense?
Orlando have conceded at least 1 goal in each of their last 10 away matches, and average 2.09 goals allowed on the road. The burgundy boys have an offense that’s getting hot at the right time in MLS, as DP signing Shkelzen Gashi and young speedster Marlon Hairston have started getting goals for the club. Against a Rapids defense that has frustrated nearly everyone in the league this season, it just takes a momentary lapse in transition to make Orlando look like a Mickey Mouse operation (see what I did there?)
OUT - Jermaine Jones (knee), Dillon Serna (knee), Sean St Ledger (knee)
OUT - Pedro Ribeiro (back), Harrison Heath (knee), Rafael Ramos (hamstring), Cristian Higuita (hamstring)
DAY-TO-DAY - Kevin Molino (hamstring), Matias Perez Garcia (quad )
SUSPENDED - None.
How to Watch / Stream:
Match Date/Time: Saturday, 20 August 2016 at 7:00 PM MDT
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park—Commerce City, Colorado
TV Information: Altitude Sports Television
Radio Information: Altitude Sports Radio AM 950
Live Stream: MLS Live (blackouts apply)
Weather at Kickoff: 74 degrees and partly cloudy, 15% chance of thunderstorms