Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City SC vs. Sporting Kansas City
Venue: Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, May 13th – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: Orlando City 6/5 – Draw 9/4 – Sporting Kansas City 85/40
Orlando City play host to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday as third meets fourth in the battle for the Supporters’ shield. Both teams have been in great form early on this season and both have 12 points from a possible 18.
Orlando, as mentioned, have been impressive so far and even without leader Kaka, they have been producing results. Their last two results present somewhat of a slump with two losses although both came on the road and a return to their new stadium will fill them with confidence once again.
Much of Orlando’s recent form can been attributed to Jason Kreis’ tactics, but the additions of Danny Toia and Will Johnson have brought much-needed MLS experience to the side and thus far they have been impressive.
Another home win would really give Orlando a boost, particularly against a unit as solid as Sporting KC, who will be looking to leave Florida with three points themselves.
Sporting Kansas City have been quietly getting on with business so far, but defensively have been highly impressive, with the title of joint-best defence in the league being well deserved. The transition of USMNT international Graham Zusi to right-back has solved a positional problem for Peter Vermes and he deserves great credit for his man-management.
Since their MLS Cup win in 2013, they have been underachieving given the quality of the team over recent seasons. But the current crop of players, helped by the long-serving core of the team, are still performing and so success could be just around the corner for the team once again.
Last week’s lost in Minnesota will have left the whole team disappointed but they now have the chance to go and end Orlando’s hot streak in their new stadium. A win here would put the visitors in a really strong position at the top of the West.
Orlando City are without experienced defender Kevin Alston for the visit of Sporting Kansas City. Rafael Ramos is a doubt with a hamstring injury but Kaka could be in line for his first home start since the opening weekend.
Sporting Kansas City are only without one player through injury as Diego Rubio is a long-term absentee with a torn ACL. Ike Opara and Graham Zusi are expected to return to the starting lineup after being benched in the loss to Minnesota United.
Orlando City’s form: W/W/W/L/L
Sporting Kansas City’s form: W/L/W/W/L
Key Stat: Fortress – Orlando City have won their last six home matches in MLS.
Key Player: Cyle Larin – Premier League target Larin has been a top performer in MLS since entering the league as the overall number one pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Everyone knows what he is capable of, particularly on home soil so expect him to be pivotal to the outcome of this clash.
Orlando City 1-1 Sporting Kansas City – Both sides are coming off the back of a loss and will want to return to winning ways in their lone regular season matchup. We expect a low scoring affair, with a draw looking likely between two sides that can defend well.