1. Coming off a loss against the Impact and their sixth loss in a row frustration has likely set in for Orlando, what can they do differently against the Impact to keep them contained and get on the board? Tactical changes?
Logan Oliver: It’s safe to say there will be changes but it’s anyone’s guess as to what those will be. Interim Head Coach Bobby Murphy rolled out a wildcard 3-4-3 in the U.S. Open Cup, which had some moderate success against D.C. United. But Orlando’s biggest issues haven’t necessarily been tactical but simple execution. The forwards up top need to finish more of their chances while some poor decision-making on defense and bad giveaways in the midfield have doomed the Lions in this rough stretch.
2. Orlando parted ways with Jason Kreis days after their loss to the Impact, who do you see as the most probable candidate as the next head coach?
LO: It seems as though the Front Office is searching for an experienced foreign manager. Former Brazilian bosses Luiz Felipe Scolari and Dunga have been discussed as well as current Iran manager Carlos Quieroz. Caleb Porter’s name is also out there, but he’s the black sheep of the rumored candidate pool. Convincing one of those managers to come to MLS is another matter all together, but if I had to personally put a bet down it would be on Scolari.
3. Orlando managed to get a hard-fought penalty shootout win in the US Open Cup against D.C. United on Wednesday night? What can they take from this match into Saturday that allowed them to get a result? Given the delay and length of the game and that many regulars were in the lineup, will fatigue be a factor on Saturday?
LO: There were a few positive signs in what was not the most attractive soccer. Without as much defensive responsibility, the fullbacks were more effective at joining the attack and didn’t doom the rest of the team when they were caught out of position. Sacha Kljestan dropping a bit deeper into midfield allowed Justin Meram some more freedom to work centrally.
It is a bit of a concern that players like Kljestan, Meram, Mueller, and Orlando’s top three center backs played a full 120 minutes. Expect some lethargy up top. Murphy rotated quite a bit though and players like Dom Dwyer and Oriol Rosell got the night off and Josué Colmán made his impact as a late sub.
4. What injuries/suspensions will keep players out this weekend and what is your projected lineup and predicted final score?
LO: Cristian Higuita and Mohamed El-Munir are both suspended from this match and Yoshimar Yotún is still away with Peru. Everyone else should be available in some capacity.
Lineup: 3-4-3 (right to left)
Joe Bendik; Jonathan Spector, Lamine Sané, Amro Tarek; Will Johnson, Sacha Kljestan, Uri Rosell, Tony Rocha; Josué Colman, Dom Dwyer, Justin Meram