It’s been a turbulent week for the Florida outfit. They got knocked out of the US Open cup by lower league USL opposition, then got thumped 4-0 by Dallas on Monday night. It was the sort of match in which they could’ve lost 6 or 7 nil, that’s how bad they were! Such has been their poor state of affairs that coach Adrian Heath was fired a couple of days ago. Heath will always go down as a bit of a cult hero here in Orlando and is the only manager the franchise has ever had! Sacking a legend is not something you do lightly, but Orlando have been letting a lot of leads slip this season and perhaps need better organisation. Caretaker manager Bobby Murphy will take charge here so who knows how the players will respond. Key man Kaka is injured and won’t play.
Since Owen Coyle left the club Houston have gradually been making some progress. They finally won under their new interim coach for the first time last week, beating Philadelphia 1-0 thanks to a late goal. It was a deserved success though and overall the Dynamo have actually been playing some good solid football. Lets not forget they were 2-0 up against the Timbers before somehow succumbing 3-2. Despite being bottom of the Western Conference there’s a better feeling around the club at the moment and the squad is in excellent condition. Houston haven’t won on the road for a long time in the MLS but you sense that might be coming soon. The new coach seems to have them playing the right mix of offensive and defensive football.
I think this is a really tricky match to predict for a number of reasons. The first is obvious in that we have no idea how Orlando will react to the departure of Heath. Unlike a lot of sackings, in this instance Heath was seen as a father figure at the club and seemed to be close to a lot of players. Maybe they’ll be a bit downbeat here, but on the other hand might it inspire a good performance? Houston have changed their identity since Owen Coyle left and are much less direct with passing and harder to break down. They will definitely be the more settled side heading into the match and with no Kaka available for Orlando, maybe the visitors have a decent chance. It’s rare the hosts keep a clean sheet and so many of their games go over 2.5. But should those statistics be completely ignored with the sacking of Heath? Orlando are still unbeaten at home this season and it’s a really tough place to visit. I’m really not sure here and I’m going to predict a 1-1 draw, but I don’t say this with much confidence.
Orlando games are usually banker overs and taking over 2.75 goals in this instance would usually be a ‘no brainer’ decision. But with the aforementioned managerial changes, coupled with the lack of Kaka and Houston’s recent ability to grind out results more, I’m willing to give this bet a swerve. There’s no doubt that Orlando’s goal expectancy goes down without Kaka and too many of their other attackers are really poor in front of goal, lacking clinicality. If this match follows the pattern of typical Orlando affairs then both teams will score and it’ll end something like 2-2, but I can’t be sure. In terms of match result, I think the bookies have their lines set fair. Lando are about 1.80 on a -0.25 handicap and considering Houston’s terrible away record I can’t argue with that. Overall though, I’m happy to sit this one out and no bet.
Recommended bet: None