Orlando City

Orlando City vs Flamengo: Three Things to Watch

Here are three things I’ll be watching as the Lions host Brazilian side Flamengo.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

All hail Odin and his Midgard warrior Robin Jansson, because Orlando City is back in action this weekend. The Lions are hosting Campeonato Brasileiro side Clube de Regatas do Flamengo — or just Flamengo — this Saturday at the newly renamed Inter&Co Stadium. This friendly is the first chance for fans to see Orlando City play in 2024 so I hope you can make it.

Normally, I would write the three keys to victory for a match, but since it’s a friendly, and a victory is not necessarily the top priority this weekend, I thought I’d share some things I will be looking for instead.

Who Plays When

Preseason training has only just begun, meaning no one should be expected to be 90-minute fit. We should see just about every player available in this one since this is an opportunity for the players to get some match-speed minutes and for the coaching staff to evaluate players, communication, and the cohesiveness of the team.

It is likely that there will be a mix of starters and backups throughout the match. Oscar Pareja might throw the typical starting lineup out to start the match, but I find it unlikely since he mostly knows what he has there. It will be interesting to see how much playing time Jansson and Rodrigo Schlegel get since there isn’t much center back depth, but I’m betting they still don’t play the whole match.

Nico’s Debut

This will be Nico Lodeiro’s first match as a Lion and I’m excited to see what he does. He is an MLS veteran who knows his way around the attacking third. Even so, don’t expect every pass to connect or every run to work, as he is just getting used to working with his new teammates. He’s had even less time with Duncan McGuire since the forward was away with the USMNT.

Lodeiro’s presence looms large heading into this match. Where in the attacking midfield will he be? You don’t bring him in not to play him at the 10 position, so where are the other players going to be? If this was a regular-season match I’d guess we’d see a similar formation as before with Facundo Torres on the right, Ivan Angulo on the left, and Lodeiro taking Mauricio Pereyra’s spot. Since this is a friendly we might see some wrinkles depending on whether Torres, Angulo, or Martin Ojeda are on the field.

Fullback Fun

Things are pretty interesting at the fullback positions. Rafael Santos has the left back starting job locked down, though the backup seems likely to be Kyle Smith, thanks to the loan of Luca Petrasso. The right back spot is a murkier proposition.

Last season, Michael Halliday got hurt and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson never let go of the starting role once he got it. The club recently signed Halliday to a new contract, indicating that he is in the mix to win the starting job back. Of course, Thorhallsson is a more versatile player and can move into the midfield if needed, but Pareja obviously liked what he brought to the right back position last season.

Who starts, how many minutes everyone gets, and how they look is something to watch as the preseason position battles begin.

Those are just some of the things I’ll be watching during the friendly against Flamengo. Let me know if you have thoughts or other things to watch in the comments below. Vamos Orlando!


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