Orlando City Preview
Incredibly, Orlando have drawn all of their last three matches 2-2. On all of those occasions they surrendered a 2-1 lead and in a couple of cases conceded in the last seconds. It’s difficult to say exactly what their problem has been, obviously there’s an issue at the end of matches regarding concentration and an ability to close a game out. Apart from that, Orlando are playing quite well and are always formidable opposition at their own stadium. Lots of fans generate a partisan atmosphere and it’s the sort of place that promotes good entertaining football. Key man Kaka missed last week’s game because of injury but looks set to return here, as does midfielder Darwin Ceren. Maybe with Kaka back Orlando will be more clinical upfront. He seems to generate a calmness and composure in his teammates when taking to the field. The Florida team have only kept one clean sheet all season and both teams scored in all their games bar one.
Toronto FC preview
TFC claimed a tight 1-0 win against LA Galaxy last week in what was a fairly uninspiring match containing few chances. They followed that up in midweek with another 1-0 success, this time in the Canadian Championship first leg against Vancouver. TFC have changed their identity a bit this year compared to last. In the previous campaign they were more known for being quite a gung-ho side, incapable of defending. This term though things have been much more solid at the back with standout performances from Drew Moor, Justin Morrow and Steven Beitashour. Of course, Toronto still have Sebastian Giovinco upfront and he is capable of winning any match on his own. Their other attacking options haven’t been as efficient though. For this match key man in the middle Michael Bradley is still on international duty and Jozy Altidore remains injured.
TFC have played a lot of away matches this season but this will just be the second time in seven games they are on the road. Truth be told, they were highly unimpressive at New York Red Bulls and prior to that the Portland Timbers totally hammered them for 45 mins. If Toronto fail to come out of the traps here then it could be too late. The style and tactics of the Canadians has definitely changed this year and they are more inclined to sit deeper and defend. But after a tough midweek match I just wonder if the backline will be as strong here. Orlando have this habit of forcing teams into a shootout at this stadium, even a boring team like San Jose came here and had a right go. I think this will be an open game of football and it should contain goals. I also think it’s about time Orlando won again and they’ll be especially boosted by the return of Kaka. They’ve yet to lose at home this season and sooner or later these draws will turn into some victories. It could be a good time to be facing TFC in the middle of their big Canadian Championship two legger.
I’m going with two bets in this game. The first is over 2.5 goals, which I think is priced at a very generous 1.97. A whopping 10 out of Orlando’s last 11 matches have ended with at least three goals in them, so many people might ask how the hell can this be such a big price? Well, Toronto have been more of an under team this year but even they haven’t been immune to the odd recent higher scoring affair. I just think it’ll open up, the way Orlando play promotes a good entertaining match. I also think the hosts -0.25 is a good price @ 2.02. They draw a lot of games so there is obviously the risk of a half loss, but I like what I’ve seen from them and Adrian Heath’s men could easily have won 3 or 4 of those contests. I just sense a home win on this occasion and I hope they won’t succumb to a late equaliser again.
Recommended bet: Over 2.5 goals @ 1.97 (minimum price acceptable 1.80)
Recommended bet: Orlando -0.25 @ 2.02 (minimum price acceptable 1.90)