The Impact is preparing to face Orlando tonight and to get us in the right mindset we got into contact with Logan Oliver from The Mane Land. He got us the inside scoop on the Impact's opponent for the next two games.
1. Orlando started off the season well but have now loss five in a row and are coming off a big loss against Vancouver. What will it take for them to bounce back? Who needs to step up?
Logan Oliver: The lack of Dom Dwyer has really hurt the offense. Stéfano Pinho hasn’t lived up to expectations as the backup striker and has been benched in favor of playing Paraguayan midfielder Josué Colmán out of position. Having no true goal scorer has killed the offense in the final third, especially without a striker occupying the center backs. Sacha Kljestan and Justin Meram as the big off-season signings could be doing more but the lack of a finisher has killed the attack. The team is a different animal with Dwyer so hopefully he’s the only missing piece.
2. The off-season move to grab Sacha Kljestan was big one. Has he live to the expectations of the club?
Logan Oliver: Kljestan has done decently well in his short stint in Orlando so far. He’s managed to bag three goals and four assists so far. He hasn’t been able to take a game over from the center of the field but there has to be a bit of an asterisk there because there hasn’t been a striker in front of him for the last three matches. The jury’s still out on Sacha.
3. Chris Mueller is in the talks for rookie of the year. Why do you think he has adapted so quickly to the lineup?
Logan Oliver: His skill set is something the team has lacked. He plays a direct style (very Dwyer-esque determination) with the ability to create and score. Colmán’s injury in preseason opened the door for him and he took his opportunity and ran with it. He’s cooled down on the scoring front lately but still creating for his teammates.
4. Injuries and lineup prediction.
Logan Oliver: Right back Scott Sutter and center back Lamine Sané are dealing with lower body injuries but are training with the team. Will Johnson picked up a minor hamstring issue in Vancouver but it sounds like he’s okay. The rest of the roster has seemingly recovered to some extent. Yoshimar Yotún is also out with Peru’s squad for the World Cup. Mohamed El-Munir is suspended.
Lineup (4-2-3-1 right to left): Joe Bendik; RJ Allen, Jonathan Spector, Amro Tarek, Donny Toia; Cristian Higuita, Oriol Rosell; Josué Colmán, Sacha Kljestan, Justin Meram; Dom Dwyer