Orlando City vs. Portland Timbers: Three Keys to This Sunday’s Game



It seems that all this past week, we’ve been telling people not to worry and that Orlando City will score soon. Now it’s time to act. The game versus Portland tomorrow will definitely be interesting to see, now that the Lions have a more steady lineup going forward. There are three big keys to this game in Oregon, if Orlando wants to pull out another win away from home.

Shut Down Fanendo Adi

The Nigerian forward for the Timbers leads the team with three goals and one assist in five games. Last year, he was able to tally nine goals in 18 games and seems to be on pace to break that mark.

Adi is a very crafty forward and at only 23 years of age, he still has a lot ahead of him. This will be a challenge for Aurelien Collin and Seb Hines to try and contain him and his strike partner Maximiliano Urruti, however, they have both played well when it comes to high profile strikers. They were able to shut down David Villa as well as Octavio Rivero, up until the very last second, as well as Chris Pontius and Jairo Arrieta last Friday.

Be sure to check out today’s other article about containing Darlington Nagbe this afternoon.

Keep The Crowd Out of the Game

It’s no secret that the Portland Timbers fan base is one of the best in MLS when it comes to atmosphere and love of the game. The Timbers Army and Timber Joey are crucial to why Portland always has the upper hand at Providence Park. It’s key for Orlando to keep the crowd out of the game.

With any luck, the team will be able to keep the Timbers off the score sheet and in turn, keep the fans at bay. If Portland manages to score before the Lions, it will be an uphill climb that most of the young players on Orlando have never been a part of. Adrian Heath will have his guys prepared for the match-up and hopefully an early goal for the good guys will keep the home team at bay.

Orlando City Has a Starting Forward

Let’s face it. There’s been a revolving door at the forward position for Orlando City. First it was Carlos Rivas, then it was Pedro Ribeiro, then Danny Mwanga and now Cyle Larin will step up to the plate. The constant changes up front have not been good for the chemistry of the team and it’s probably the reason that there haven’t been many goals.

Each player has his own tendencies when playing up front and when there isn't a guarantee of who will be up there, the chemistry that is built up over time is lost and, especially with a young team, that chemistry is very important for growth.

However, Larin has shown promise going forward and will now be playing in his third game with Orlando. This could be what the Lions need — someone who is constantly up front and building chemistry with the midfielders. This game tomorrow may just be Larin's breakout match to give the team a chance.

We shall have to wait and see if all the keys come to fruition, but until then, we'll just have to do what fans do — hope good things happen and tune in to the game tomorrow to find out.


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