The LA Galaxy are back at home on Saturday, and will host Orlando City SC for the teams’ fourth game of the 2022 season. To get ready for the match, I spoke with Ben Miller from SB Nation’s Orlando soccer site The Mane Land. Many thanks to Ben for taking the time to answer my questions!
LAG Confidential asks The Mane Land:
- How has the season started for Orlando City? They just dropped a home result to FC Cincinnati, is that a panic situation or an early-season blip?
The season has started pretty middle of the road for Orlando City. The Lions got a good win on opening day against a Montreal side that was on the verge of the playoffs last year, and were very unlucky to have a winning goal disallowed on the road against Chicago the following week. The home loss to Cincinnati was...much less encouraging but no one is pressing the panic button just yet. Orlando had 18 shots and 70% possession against Cincy and while only 6 of those shots were on target, Alec Kann made two great stops to deny Ercan Kara and Alexandre Pato from close range in the first half. Overall, the offense doesn’t quite look like the finished article just yet but when you basically bring in three new starting players considering Pato’s injury layoff last year, I think that’s to be expected. It hurts to not get 3 points before two tough games out west but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
2. The Lions have added a couple intriguing attackers this season, in Ercan Kara and Facundo Torres. How are they adjusting to MLS so far and what are you expecting to see from them this season?
I touched on it briefly above, but they’re slowly integrating into the team. Kara suffered an injury during preseason that he’s still working back to full fitness, so that’s hampered him a little bit. Torres would have had an assist on the disallowed goal in Chicago, but he did get one last week against Cincy. Torres is taking some time to adapt to some of the physical play that he’s been exposed to so far, but he’s young and has shown some excellent flashes so far. Given a bit more time to get up to speed I think they’ll both do pretty well. Torres may suffer some from not having a high caliber winger on the opposite side of the formation if Benji Michel or Silvester van der Water don’t elevate their play a little bit. Kara is a big boy and once he’s fully fit I’d expect him to have a similar gravity and profile to Daryl Dike before he left, although with a bit more polish concerning his touch and decision making abilities given his older age.
3. What is the overall expectation for 2022 for Orlando City? With a few gameweeks down, have projections adjusted one way or the other thus far?
Given what we’ve seen the last few years I think the expectations are to make the playoffs. With that being said, the Lions lost three big contributors in Nani, Dike and Chris Mueller. In theory Nani and Dike have been replaced by Torres and Kara but theory needs to translate to reality if Orlando is going to make the playoffs for the third straight year. There’s a great spine through the back line and defensive midfield and new signing Cesar Araujo has been fantastic, he’s keeping Sebas Mendez out of the team at the moment and Sebas is an Ecuadoran international who’s been a nailed-on starter since he got here. The big question is whether or not the offense can get going. I haven’t adjusted my expectations yet but if the offense still isn’t clicking after a few more games then I’m going to start getting worried.
You can find my answers to Ben’s questions about LA at The Mane Land.
What do you think? Leave a comment below.