After a disappointing loss in MLS action last week, the Philadelphia Union will look to reset against Orlando City SC on Saturday, March 25. We reached out to Ben Miller and our pals at The Mane Land to see if the Union’s shortened lineup will stand a chance.
Philadelphia Soccer Now: Orlando’s had a mixed bag of results thus far into the season. Has there been a consistent theme through the first four games?
Ben Miller: The consistent theme has been inconsistency, mainly in the rotating nature of the lineups. That’s been due to the Concacaf Champions League, which was understandably prioritized before Orlando exited the competition to Tigres. Now that the focus has narrowed for the time being, we should start seeing a more regular starting XI, which will hopefully also mean that the results start picking up a bit.
PSN: The Lions haven’t had a singular attacker stand out so far this season. Who is supposed to step up?
BM: Facundo Torres and Martin Ojeda have to be the guys this year. Torres was excellent from mid-summer onward last year, and Ojeda is the team’s big Designated Player signing. They need to start clicking and showing more than they have at the start of the year, which will hopefully be the case as the starting XI solidifies and everyone gets more comfortable with each other.
PSN: What has the defense looked like this season? Pedro Gallese has had some solid performances, what’s the connection look like between him and the backline?
BM: The defense has been a bit iffy at times, and it’s taken some fantastic Pedro Gallese performances to get results against Tigres and D.C. United in particular. However, starting CB Antonio Carlos has yet to step on the field and the Lions did not return either of last year’s starting fullbacks, so a learning curve was to be expected, particularly since the players who replaced them, Luca Petrasso and Mikey Halliday, are both young and fairly green. Last week’s loss to Charlotte was the worst defensive performance of the year, and the team will absolutely be looking to bounce back from conceding two very preventable goals.
PSN: Will Orlando be missing anyone on Saturday? What are your lineup and score predictions?
BM: Facundo Torres, Pedro Gallese, Wilder Cartagena, Thomas Williams, and Mikey Halliday are all away on either full or youth national team duty. The team does not have anyone listed on the injury report, so it’s possible that we get our first glimpse of Antonio Carlos this year.
Mason Stajduhar; Luca Petrasso, Rodrigo Schlegel, Robin Jansson, Kyle Smith; Cesar Araujo; Dagur Dan Thorhallson; Martin Ojeda, Mauricio Pereyra, Ivan Angulo; Ercan Kara
Score prediction: 2-1 Orlando by the skin of their teeth.