Playing the Seattle Sounders at home is no small task and coming away from CenturyLink Field with a win is even more difficult, but Orlando City SC should head West with confidence and trust in their ability to win big games on the road. Especially considering Seattle’s slide in form the last few months.
The Sounders have lost eight games of their last ten, largely due to the absence of strikers Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, however Martins is expected to make a comeback on Sunday. This is a good thing for Orlando who cannot afford to concede too many more goals, currently the Lions are sitting in 7th place in the Eastern conference tied with the Montreal Impact for points but have a GD of -5.
There’s a lot to consider, especially with all the new acquisitions during the transfer window from both teams, but we’ve narrowed it down to three major points to consider before Sunday’s game.
Three things to watch on Sunday:
Cyle Larin: Maybe the pressure to break the rookie goal scoring record was too great or maybe his impressive goal-scoring streak has finally cooled off. Either way if Orlando is going to get to the playoffs, Larin is going to have to heat back up. The Canadian has been poised to score his 12th goal for a couple weeks now but might have felt overwhelmed in Toronto, the pressure definitely did not disappear when facing a home crowd against Philadelphia.
Orlando’s defense: Last week’s scoreless draw at home might not seem exciting but it at least didn’t add to the goal difference currently haunting Orlando. Every time Orlando get close to closing the gap it seems that something gets in their way. The 5-3 stomping against NYCFC really hurt the Lions, and a lot of excuses can be made for that game, but this Seattle offense is not performing well and Orlando need to tighten up in back to stop the bleeding.
Adrian Winter: The new 29-year-old Swiss signing made his Orlando debut late against Philadelphia and although he didn’t make a huge impact there were flashes of what we can come to expect. He was quick and fearless, two things the Lions desperately need to pull themselves back into the post-season picture. He hasn’t played a full game since May, but Seattle’s weather should agree with him more than Orlando and the more he plays with the Lions the more comfortable he will become.
The Lions have been a bit hard to predict all season so the only way to know for sure which Orlando team is on their way to Seattle is to watch, Sunday at 5pm ET on ESPN2.