(Photo by Mark Thor / Orlando City SC)
Orlando City Stadium has been an indomitable fortress for Orlando City SC so far this season. Through four home matches, the Lions have collected four home wins. To put that in perspective, City only won nine of their 34 games in 2016.
Now, on paper, it appears Orlando might once again walk away with three points when the Lions host the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. Colorado currently sits in last place in the Western Conference with a 1-4-1 record with four points.
But Orlando City head coach Jason Kreis isn’t taking this team lightly; he knows of the quality the Rapids hold.
“I think it’s actually a very interesting team because you look at the record of Colorado right now, and it’s not very impressive,” Kreis said after training Wednesday. “But if you actually look at the play, it’s a dangerous team. They’re creating a lot of goal-scoring chances… Really think about the results over the last three games and look at the chances they created, and you walk away and say they could’ve won those games rather than lost them.
“So I just think they’re going through a difficult stretch right now, an unlucky stretch. Been there many times before and know that it’s dangerous because they could break out at any given moment.”
“Unlucky” is how City striker Cyle Larin would describe Colorado as well. After all, the Rapids made it to the 2016 Western Conference Championship, losing to the eventual MLS Cup winners, the Seattle Sounders.
“Colorado’s a very good team,” Larin said after training Wednesday. “I just think they’re getting unlucky, and I think we can’t take that game for granted, and we have to keep working hard and keep going out there and keep pressing teams and keep attacking them and then play well defensively.”
In addition to playing in Orlando City Stadium, Colorado will also have another obstacle to overcome. The Rapids will be without starting goalkeeper Tim Howard, as he is currently serving a three-game suspension because of an altercation he had with fans.
That’s negligible in the eyes of Kreis, though, when it comes to preparation.
“It just doesn’t affect it too much, right?” Kreis said. “We don’t do a whole lot of talking about the goalkeepers, to be honest. Those are the guys that are there to stop the very last play. So, we prepare the exact same way.”
Orlando City hosts the Rapids on Saturday at 4 p.m.
- 4/27/2017, 2:55 p.m.: Fixed factual error regarding how many home wins Orlando City has won from five to four in the second-overall sentence.