Fresh off the early-season bye week, Orlando City returns to action this weekend with a trip to Allianz Field to take on Adrian Heath‘s Minnesota United FC on Saturday night (8:30 p.m. ET, Apple TV+ – Free).
A disappointing result at home two weeks ago, a 2-0 to Nashville SC, took the Lions into the welcomed break, which gave the team an opportunity to regroup and reset after a busy and lackluster start to the 2023 season.
- Minnesota’s first two home matches this season resulted in 1-1 draws. Similar to Orlando City, Minnesota has been one of the lowest-scoring teams in the run of play this season, with five of their seven goals coming off of set pieces.
- Dating back to last season, the Loons have only lost one of their last 11 home matches (5-1-5).
- On the other side of the ball, the Loons have only conceded five goals in six games this season, the fifth-lowest amount in MLS — just one goal less than Orlando has conceded.
- This will be the first time that Orlando and Minnesota have squared off since the semifinal of the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020, a contest that the Lions won 3-1. It’ll be Orlando’s first trip to Minnesota since 2019.
Projected Starting XI
(right to left): Pedro Gallese; Kyle Smith, Antonio Carlos, Robin Jansson, Luca Pretrasso; Cesar Araujo, Mauricio Pereyra; Martin Ojeda, Facundo Torres, Ivan Angulo; Ercan Kara
- Ercan Kara is fit and traveled with the team to Minnesota; he’ll be available for selection.
- Oscar Pareja revealed at training this week that Michael Halliday picked up a knock while on international duty, he’ll likely be sidelined for at least the next week or so.
- Wilder Cartagena did undergo an MRI this past week for precautionary reasons, but he’s fine and could feature on the bench.
What they’re saying
“Minnesota is a team that has a structure that we know. We faced them in the preseason, but every game the story is going to be written based on what we as the coaches prepare. They know us, we know them. What we’re looking at is trying to obviously use that knowledge and apply it on the pitch and try to get what we need which is first a victory and the most important is that our chemistry and our system matures.” – Manager Oscar Pareja
For more soccer news, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @OSJSoccer