This week, I have been spending a lot of time playing Dark Souls. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a video game where every single enemy, and especially every single boss, is likely to kill you. Where you can go up against a single giant boss monster dozens and dozens of times, learning new tricks to get further and further every time, but still fail over and over and over until eventually, you finally get one up on them… only to be met with a new, even greater foe.
See where I’m going with this?
Yes, after the Colorado Rapids got their collective faces melted off by a shockingly good Houston team, the Burgundy Boys are making one of their longest trips of the year to Florida to play against Orlando City SC. With former Rapids players on Orlando’s roster, our noses still bloody from the punch in the face we took from the last weekend, and a growing need to get our first win of the season, how do the Lions look?
Orlando has certainly been busy the last few months. If we thought our roster overhaul was significant, Orlando is practically a brand new team. They got rid of 17 players in the offseason and brought in 14 new guys. We only got rid of a paltry 14 and brought in 12.
Chief among their new signings is Nani, a Portuguese forward who played for Manchester United for eight years. The now-32-year-old was most recently with Sporting CP in Portugal, and Orlando City signed him to a three-year DP deal. While the details of the transaction aren’t public yet, it is safe to assume that they are going to be paying him big money to help push Orlando to a playoff appearance—a feat which they have not yet achieved since joining the league in 2015. So far, he’s contributed three assists in five games (four from the start).
Orlando’s current head coach is James O’Connor, previously with Louisville City in the USL. He’s led them since July 2, 2018, and doesn’t exactly have the strongest record, with a 3-5-14 record overall and a last-place finish in the East last year. So far this season, they’ve played five games, with a pair of draws against NYCFC and Chicago Fire and a win over New York Red Bulls. Obviously five games aren’t enough to really see a trend, but they did beat the Red Bulls in Harrison, New Jersey.
The Lions typically line up in a 3-4-3 formation, though against the Montreal Impact they brought out a 4-2-2-2. In the back, we can expect to see ex-Rapids Homegrown player Shane O’Neill, who has returned to MLS after spending time in Cypriot, Belgium, England, and the Netherlands. Up top, they have DPs Dom Dwyer and Nani, along with the most infamous mustache in MLS today (we miss you, Pablostache!), Sacha Kljestan.
Their offense has put in six goals over their five games, but have yet to win at home. Last weekend, they lost to DC United, thanks in part to a golazo free kick from Wayne Rooney (who also happens to be Nani’s former teammate).
After the Rapids got surprised by Houston, we need one heck of a rebound to get this team and fanbase back into a positive mentality. It seems like recently we’ve had a lot of games that ended in disappointment. It’s time we reverse those fortunes.