MLS

Orlando City v LA Galaxy: Preview and prediction

By Sports Desk April 28, 2023

Orlando City forward Facundo Torres is targeting a turnaround in the Lions’ home fortunes, starting against LA Galaxy on Saturday.

Since beating the New York Red Bulls in the opening game of the season, Orlando have failed to win at home in 2023.

That run of five games has included three straight losses, with road wins over Philadelphia Union and Minnesota United wedged between those defeats.

Torres scored the winner against the Red Bulls back in February, and knows the time is now for Orlando to correct their home form.

"It's been difficult losses. Not just this week, but so far the ones that we've had on the season," he said.

"We know that we have to be a little bit more. It's not what we'd hoped for at this point in the season, but we continue working with the whole team to continue finding those details that we've been missing recently.

"In the final third, we've gotten good plays where we've been in and around the ball, but we haven't been able to finish those chances yet. And on the defensive side, we've given up some easy ones that have cost us as a team. So we work together to try and solidify those areas.

"We all know what [head coach] Oscar [Pareja] has been asking of us in the plan that he's laid out for us, whether it's guys that have been here or guys that just got here this year.

"The plan that Oscar has laid out has been very clear, and we're all integrated into that. I think what we're missing right now is the chemistry in between the new players and the old players and executing that idea. Like I said, the plan is very clear so now we just need to work together to bring that idea to the field in reality."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Orlando City – Duncan McGuire

McGuire has scored three goals in his first six MLS appearances, including scoring Orlando's last two goals. McGuire has hit the target with all seven shots he's attempted in MLS, the only player to attempt more than three shots with a 100 per cent shooting accuracy this season.

 

LA Galaxy – Javier Hernandez

Hernandez scored his first goal of the season in the Galaxy's 2-0 win over Austin on Saturday, and will be eager to keep up his form. It was his 38th regular season MLS goal, surpassing Erick Torres to become the second-highest-scoring Mexican international in MLS history, behind only Carlos Vela (72).

MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

Each side have three wins in their six previous MLS meetings. The last two matches ended 1-0 to the visiting team (one win each) after there were a total of 20 goals scored in the first four games between the Lions and Galaxy.

Orlando have lost 11 regular season home matches since the start of 2022 (W10 D1) after losing a total of 12 home matches over the previous three regular seasons combined (W20 D14 from 2019—21).

The Galaxy have just two points from four away matches this season, though they're unbeaten in their last five away matches against Eastern Conference opposition.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Orlando City – 48.2 per cent

LA Galaxy – 25.1 per cent

Draw – 26.7 per cent

Related items

  • San Jose Earthquakes v Orlando City: Gonzalez certain things will turn San Jose Earthquakes v Orlando City: Gonzalez certain things will turn

    The San Jose Earthquakes may sit bottom of the Western Conference standings ahead of Saturday's clash with Orlando City, but Luchi Gonzalez is certain they will be just fine.

    The 'Quakes saw their mini revival halted by a 4-2 loss to the Portland Timbers in midweek, having previously won three straight games across all competitions.

    Their 10 points are fewer than all MLS teams except the New England Revolution (seven) have won this season, but Gonzalez has seen positive signs.

    "We're going to be fine. This is a great group, and they continue to fight for each other. It's hard when we drop points," he said.

    "I expect nothing but a fire in their belly and a response against Orlando and then in the next one, and it's really fun and exciting to coach this team. 

    "These guys work for each other and they want to keep getting better, and I'm confident they will keep getting better as the season continues."

    Orlando have also made a stuttering start, earning 13 points from 12 games to sit 11th in the Eastern Conference standings.

    The Lions did shut out a Lionel Messi-less Inter Miami side in a goalless draw on Wednesday, though, and midfielder Wilder Cartagena has seen signs of progress.

    "Especially in the last few games, we've been showing ourselves to be more dangerous and attacking," Cartagena said.

    "It's similar to how we were in the last half of last year but obviously there are a couple of minor adjustments that we have to make. I think we are playing a lot better in that area."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    San Jose Earthquakes – Amahl Pellegrino 

    Pellegrino has scored in three straight games, becoming the first San Jose player to do so in MLS play since Cristian Espinoza between July and August last year (four straight). 

    It's Pellegrino's first time scoring in three straight league matches since he netted in four in a row for Norwegian side Bodo/Glimt in 2023.

    Orlando City – Cesar Araujo

    Orlando allowed 29 shots against the Philadelphia Union last Saturday but just seven against Miami on Wednesday. It was the first time in their MLS history that Orlando faced at least 20 fewer shots from one game to the next.

    Araujo protected the backline admirably in midweek and will look to do likewise again here.

    MATCH PREDICTION – DRAW

    The home side has never lost in six all-time meetings between San Jose and Orlando. 

    The first three meetings were all drawn before the hosts won each of the last three, with San Jose winning at home in 2019 and Orlando recording home wins in 2018 and 2021.

    After their midweek stalemate against Miami, Orlando have been shut out five times in league play this season. That is tied for the most in MLS in 2024, while their six times being held scoreless in all competitions this term also equals the most by any MLS outfit. 

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    San Jose Earthquakes – 38.4%

    Orlando City – 33.4%

    Draw – 28.2%

  • Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak Toronto FC v CF Montreal: Courtois accepts blame amid ongoing winless streak

    Laurent Courtois has accepted that it is on him to find a winning formula as CF Montreal look to snap their winless run against Toronto FC.

    Montreal were beaten 3-1 by Columbus Crew in midweek and are now without a victory in six games in all competitions.

    That includes a three-game losing streak in MLS, leaving them 13th in the Eastern Conference, and Courtois is eager to get back on track.

    "It's up to me to find the winning formulas and discern the phases of the game," head coach Courtois said after the loss to Columbus.

    "We have to grit our teeth and find solutions. The difficult times we are going through help me identify my group. I want to know the players better. 

    "From all the negative aspects we can observe, I can identify a few individual aspects to improve the game or the team itself."

    Monreal's rivals Toronto have themselves lost back-to-back games ahead of Saturday's Canadian Classique at BMO Field.

    Nashville SC scored twice late on to snatch a 2-0 win in the Reds' most recent match, but acting head coach Jason deVos admits there can be no excuses.

    "The last ten minutes, two mistakes cost us and that's the cruelty of football sometimes - that it's a 90-minute match and you need to put in a 90-minute performance in," he said. 

    "The players are aware of that. They know where the growth areas are for us as a team."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Toronto - Federico Bernardeschi

    Bernardeschi missed the loss to Nashville but will hope to start this weekend in a fixture he has fond memories of. 

    The Italian has scored in each of his two home games against Montreal, making him the third Toronto player to score in two successive home games against them after Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley.

    Montreal - Joel Waterman

    Montreal have conceded three or more goals five times across their 12 MLS games this season, which is tied with San Jose Earthquakes for the most in MLS.

    They quite simply need to sharpen up at the back, with Joel Waterman needing to step up and hope others around him also do so.. The centre-back led the way for interceptions (three) and clearances (four) against Columbus, yet it was still not enough.

    MATCH PREDICTION: DRAW

    Montreal have won five successive matches against Toronto, following a run of neither side ever winning more than three on the spin in this fixture.

    Toronto have won seven and drawn one of their eight matches in which they have held opponents under two goals since September, while they have lost all 13 in which they have shipped two or more.

    Keeping the opposition quiet is therefore key, and this could present a chance to do just that against a Montreal side with fewer points (five) than any side in MLS since mid-March.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Toronto - 39.6%
    Draw - 28.5%
    Montreal - 31.9%

  • Real Salt Lake v Colorado Rapids: Armas targets Rocky Mountain Cup Real Salt Lake v Colorado Rapids: Armas targets Rocky Mountain Cup

    Chris Armas is desperate to claim early-season silverware in the form of the Rocky Mountain Cup as the Colorado Rapids prepare to visit rivals Real Salt Lake on Saturday.

    The Rapids are flying high in fourth in the Western Conference standings, four points adrift of top side RSL after 13 matches.

    They should approach Saturday's derby in good spirits after their 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps in midweek, while they have already beaten RSL once this season – by a 2-1 scoreline on the road in early March.

    "I wish we were hosting this one, the Rocky Mountain Cup is such an important thing to us and to our fans," Armas said.

    "It'd be nice if we maybe played one at home and one on the road. Two on the road is tricky but it is what it is.

    "We have the slight edge at the moment but we have work to do, to go there and get the trophy. You can go through an entire season and not play for a trophy, and now we are."

    RSL boss Pablo Mastroeni represented Colorado for 11 years of his playing career then coached them for three years upon his retirement, but he feels he has come a long way since then.

    "I think the biggest thing is my evolution as a person. When I first got into coaching, I'd just finished my career and threw myself into the deep waters," Mastroeni said. 

    "Over time you understand your game model and the way you want to play the game. These things take time, and it's really broadened my perspective." 

    PLAYERS TO WATCH 

    Real Salt Lake – Andres Gomez 

    Gomez scored his fifth goal of the season in Real Salt Lake's 2-0 win over the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday. 

    He and Cristian Arango (11) have now combined for 16 goals this MLS campaign, the only team-mates to combine for more are Inter Miami's Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez (21).

    Colorado Rapids – Rafael Navarro 

    Navarro scored the game's only goal in Colorado's win over Vancouver, becoming the first Rapids player since Diego Rubio in 2022 to score in three straight regular-season matches. 

    The only Rapids player in the last 12 years to score in four straight league games was Kei Kamara in 2019.

    MATCH PREDICTION – REAL SALT LAKE WIN

    The Rapids ended a seven-match losing streak in the Rocky Mountain Cup (two draws, five defeats) with a 2-1 victory at Real Salt Lake on March 9. 

    However, they haven't won two in a row against RSL since a pair of victories in September 2006 and April 2007.

    Real Salt Lake have won three of their last four home matches, drawing the other and keeping clean sheets in all of those games. The Rapids are the only visiting team to win at America First Field this year, but RSL may just get their revenge this weekend.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Real Salt Lake – 49.2%

    Colorado Rapids – 23.3%

    Draw – 27.5%

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.