Orlando City SC vs. LA Galaxy | 2017 MLS Match Preview
Orlando City SC vs. LA Galaxy
2017 MLS Regular Season - Week 7
Orlando City Stadium • Orlando, Florida
Saturday, April 15 • 2:30 p.m. ET
WATCH: FOX, Fox Deportes in USA; MLS LIVE in Canada
Get ready for serious fireworks on Saturday as two of the league's heavyweights lock horns in a stadium with one of the most intimidating home-field atmospheres: Orlando City Stadium.
Yes, the stadium's still pretty new, but the increasingly famous Wall supporters' section must be doing something – Orlando City SC are 3-0-0 in front of it at home. That's enough, for now, to lessen worries about the Lions' one away loss so far this season. And if weather hadn't postponed their originally scheduled Week 2 match at New England, Orlando might well be sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference. As it is, they only trail conference leaders Columbus Crew SC by one point, despite having played two fewer matches.
The LA Galaxy, meanwhile, have plenty to prove. Despite a shaky start to the season, they've rebounded now with several new starring characters. They've done enough to land a 2-0 win against Montreal at home last week, and new Designated Player Romain Alessandrini is looking pretty, pretty good.
We hear a lot about Orlando's offense – and Cyle Larin and Carlos Rivas are continuing to crush it up top. But their backline probably deserves equal hype. Goalkeeper Joe Bendik continues to rack up Save of the Week noms, but in the back four, Jonathan Spector is quietly impressing fans and head coach Jason Kreis. In fact, Spector's managed 34 clearances in 2017, third-most in all of MLS. In all, Orlando have allowed just three goals so far this season.
- Suspended: Matias Perez Garcia (READ)
- Int’l Duty: NONE
- Injury Report: DAY-TO-DAY: MF - Tony Rocha (hamstring injury); MF - Antonio Nocerino (calf injury); OUT: MF - Kaká (hamstring injury), DF - Seb Hines (knee injury), DF - Rafael Ramos (hamstring injury), DF - Jose Aja (hamstring injury)
Projected starting XI (4-3-1-2): Joe Bendik — Scott Sutter, Tommy Redding, Jonathan Spector, Donny Toia — Cristian Higuita, Servando Carrasco, Will Johnson —Giles Barnes — Cyle Larin, Carlos Rivas
Notes: Orlando City are 5-2-0 over their last seven home games, averaging 1.6 goals during that time. They have kept two clean sheets in their last three games at home, including last weekend’s 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls.
- No place like home: Lions talk up new digs
- Best striker in MLS? Larin makes his case
- The Wall: Orlando City's home-field advantage
- WATCH: Cyle Larin's best goals for Orlando City
- OCSC building bridges with historic Parramore neighborhood
- Human Highlight Reel: Joe Bendik excels in Orlando
Galaxy fans may have despaired over a disappointing couple of season-opening matches, losing to FC Dallas, then the Portland Timbers. Despite that shaky start, they've largely managed to right the ship, and impressively so, considering the staff and squad turnover.
There are some major bright spots. Compact Emma Boateng continues to prove an attacking danger, and new-guy DP Alessandrini is seriously finding his form, with head coach Curt Onalfo offering high praise. Let's not forget about legend Jermaine Jones, either. Though he's still dealing with haters, he says he's going to let his game do the talking – which it definitely did during the Galaxy's last match, that 2-0 win over the Impact, when he netted one of his team's two goals.
- Suspended: NONE
- Int’l Duty: NONE
- Injury Report: OUT: DF - Robbie Rogers (ankle injury), MF - Sebastian Lletget (foot surgery)
Projected Starting XI (4-4-2, right to left): Clement Diop – Nathan Smith, Daniel Steres, Jelle Van Damme, Ashley Cole – Romain Alessandrini, Joao Pedro, Jermaine Jones, Emmanuel Boateng – Giovani Dos Santos, Gyasi Zardes
Notes: In Boateng’s three starts this season (264 minutes played), LA Galaxy are averaging 2.0 goals per 90 minutes. In the two games he has not started (262 minutes played), they are averaging 0.3 goals per 90.
- Stejskal: How LA landed new star Romain Alessandrini
- Tactical Look: Why Gyasi Zardes is better up top
- With future uncertain, Ashley Cole aiming for MLS Cup with LA
- That Dos Santos drought? LA need to get him the ball
- LA's Steres connects through Passover traditions
- Goal Reel: Alessandrini's strikes in his debut MLS season
- By the Way: Getting ink with LA's Jelle Van Damme
- LA's Jermaine Jones wants to let his game do the talking
- LA Galaxy see a star in Alessandrini: He is quality
Orlando City and Los Angeles have met twice before, with the home team winning each time and scoring four goals in the victory.
- Overall (2 all-time matches): Galaxy 1 win, 4 goals; Orlando City 1 win, 6 goals
- At Orlando (1 match): Orlando 1 win, 4 goals
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistant Referees: Jeremy Hanson (bench side), Andrew Bigelow (far side)
Fourth Official: Rubiel Vazquez