Stomach Bug Force Orlando City To Reconsider Tomorrow’s Line-Up

Adrian Heath at today's shortened practice, provided by Orlando City Soccer Club Communications

Adrian Heath at today’s shortened practice, provided by Orlando City Soccer Club Communications

A stomach bug going around Orlando City caused head coach Adrian Heath to cut today’s training short by 40-minutes and cancel tomorrow’s pre-game practice altogether. Orlando City is set to face the Vancouver Whitecaps tomorrow at 7:30 pm in the team’s second home game of the new MLS season and are currently without an idea of who the starting XI will be, “The bottom line is we don’t know who will be available,” Heath said.

“It is going to be a case of everybody reporting for tomorrow’s game and then we will see who looks in the best condition to play,” said Heath when speaking to media after today’s shortened practice. Rafael Ramos was one of the first to suffer from the bug and may end up sitting out as a result, which could end up being a large absence in the defense as Ramos has been making a large impact for the Lions and was named to MLS’s “Team of the Week” last week.

Typically teams aren’t forced to deal with a major setback until later on in the season when a player gets an injury, but Orlando is going to have to find way to mix their typical starters with the bench in order to win tomorrow against Vancouver. “It is definitely frustrating and it is hard to come to terms with,” Heath said. “But it is still part and parcel of the game and it’s why you have a big squad.”

Despite the setback, Heath remains optimistic about his team’s chances against the Whitecaps tomorrow, “We’ve had two really good performances so far and I’d like to continue that. It would be nice to go into the game with a full complement of players but unfortunately that is not the case. However, one or two others will be able to stake a claim tomorrow, and they may be able to force their way into the reckoning in future with a good performance, so there will be a lot to play for.”

The Lions are currently tied for first place in the Eastern Conference with New York City FC, and could use another three points at home to keep the lead as the schedule gets more difficult going forward.

Caitlin O'Connell

A Senior Writer and Orlando City Correspondent for 90 Minutes Strong, Caitlin has years of experience as a soccer journalist. She was the Managing Editor at World Soccer Talk and was the Events Assistant at the Boca Raton Bowl.

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