LAFC are back in action on Saturday when they face Orlando City in Orlando, and to get ready for the match, we checked in with Ben Miller of SB Nation’s Orlando soccer site The Mane Land to get the lowdown on the upcoming opponent. Many thanks to Ben for taking the time to answer my questions!
Angels on Parade asks The Mane Land:
1. How has the season started for Orlando City? They had a game last week when most of the league was off for the international break, was that welcome or a nuisance?
It’s been mostly good so far. The lone loss came to FC Cincinnati at home, and while that certainly smarted it’s a result that doesn’t look totally awful in hindsight considering FCC doesn’t seem to be quite as hapless as they have been in seasons past. The game on Sunday was a bit of an annoyance, especially as it kicked off just a couple hours before the USMNT match, although the result was almost extremely welcome. Orlando took the lead on the road in Portland but gave away a late penalty kick and had to settle for a draw. Three points would have been excellent but considering the draw came without Pedro Gallese, Facundo Torres and Sebas Mendez it was another solid road result after beating the Galaxy away last week.
2. Alexandre Pato is back, and he’s helping to produce! Is he helping the club move past the Nani era so far?
Pato has quietly had a good start to life in 2022 with a goal and an assist in four games. I wouldn’t go quite as far as saying he’s helped the team move past Nani just yet. Frankly, the team doesn’t score enough goals, as it has five in five games. While the Lions have done well to take eight points from those games, those numbers probably aren’t sustainable and the offense needs to kick things into a higher gear. The low scoring rate is understandable early on since the Lions are essentially incorporating four new pieces into the starting lineup, but if goals don’t start coming a bit quicker in about a month or so there will be some cause for concern.
3. Which young player or newcomer on Orlando City are you excited about so far?
Facundo Torres probably has the most hype around him considering he’s Orlando City’s record signing. He scored the lone goal in Orlando’s road win over the Galaxy and has shown flashes of what he’s capable of. The most impressive newcomer based on his play to this point has to be Cesar Araujo. The Lions signed him as part of Major League Soccer’s U-22 Initiative and he walked right into the starting lineup and has been there ever since. To this point he’s completely displaced Ecuadorian international Sebas Mendez and just seems to be able to do a little bit of everything. He’s a bit more capable of contributing in attack than Mendez and with the offense not firing on all cylinders yet, the extra help he can provide is welcome. If he keeps playing the way he has been at the beginning of the season, he might not be wearing purple for too long.
You can find my answers to Ben’s questions at The Mane Land.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.