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Massive Scouting Report: Orlando City SC

A look at what Columbus faces in playoff chasers Orlando City.

MLS: Orlando City SC at Columbus Crew SC Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC continue the search for a spark after yet another loss. The Black & Gold are coming off a late home defeat to the Seattle Sounders, dropping the game 2-1 after giving up a stoppage time winner. It’s their whopping 13th loss in 20 games played in Major League Soccer this season.

Next up comes Eastern Conference foe Orlando City SC who, just like Columbus, are on the outside looking in for a playoff spot. Not much has changed for this Orlando side who downed the Crew 2-0 at MAPFRE Stadium only two weeks ago. The Lions have since played two MLS matchups in a row versus Philadelphia Union, a 3-1 loss and a 2-2 draw. They also advanced to the semifinals of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, beating New York City FC in a penalty shootout 5-4 following a 1-1 draw in regulation.

This upcoming matchup will, however, be their fourth matchup in 11 days time.

Let’s take another look at Eastern Conference rival Orlando City SC.

Orlando City SC at a glance

Form: W-L-W-L-D

Leading scorer: Nani (8 goals)

Assists leader: Nani (7 assists)

Expected Starting Lineup

The Perfect Opportunity?

If a win is going to come for Columbus, it’s going to be against a similar side in Orlando City. The two teams are similar in the standings and the Lions are gearing up to play their fourth game already in the month of July. The Black & Gold had a similar stretch in June where rest was a mere afterthought and visibly hurt head coach Caleb Porter’s team. It’s now a harsh reality for Orlando and head coach James O’Connor

Fatigue could play a big part for Orlando, who are priming for even more games coming up with an Open Cup trophy run still very much alive and well. O’Connor may see this and field a weaker side to prime for more important games that lie ahead in the long run.

While Columbus will be without Brazilian winger Robinho, who was traded to Orlando this week, he is not expected to be apart of the side facing the Crew as he is not deemed to be ready to go and acclimated with the side just yet.

How the Crew win

Even with the first goal coming for the Black & Gold in last weeks matchup versus Seattle, Columbus still let a result slip through their fingers by the narrowest of margins. At this point, they may need somebody Cristiano Ronaldo-esque to help push them to the finish line.

In all seriousness, the Crew will win if they can hold their own on the backline and minimize their mistakes. Porter acknowledged how the smallest of slip ups have caused much of the team’s faults leading up to this point in the season. Having Gyasi Zardes, Wil Trapp and Jonathan Mensah back will help immensely, and is a good start.

If Porter can get his players to play the full 90 minutes (plus added time), they can very well find a way to get a result on the road. It’s undoubtedly starting to look like the beginning of the end for the Crew’s 2019 season. However, if they can nab even a point on Saturday, it may be the spark they need to carry them moving forward.