Dynamo Theory (DT): Orlando has brought in some new Designated Players this season in Ercan Kara and Facundo Torres. How have they done early on in this season?
The Mane Land (TML): It was a slow start for both of them, but they’ve each begun rounding into form. Kara has three goals in his last six games and a lot of us over at The Mane Land were a little surprised he didn’t start on Wednesday given that he’s been heating up lately. Torres has also started to come on stronger and bagged a crucial equalizer for the Lions in the U.S. Open Cup win over Inter Miami. There’s definitely still room for them to raise their levels but there are plenty of encouraging signs.
DT: We just saw Pedro Gallese play for Peru in their World Cup Qualifier Playoff. Will he be available on Saturday and if not, who might we see between the posts for Orlando?
TML: El Pulpo got the start on Wednesday night in Orlando City’s road game against the New England Revolution, something that no one really saw coming. The assumption was that Adam Grinwis would start with Pedro on short rest and coming off a long transatlantic flight. He played well though and made a couple big stops to help keep Orlando in the game. Barring something happening during training before Saturday, I’d expect him to get the start.
DT: Being in the Eastern Conference, Houston and Orlando have not played much, and not at all since 2019. Who are some players that Dynamo fans will need to be aware of for Saturday’s match?
TML: We already talked about Torres and Kara who are two new signings this year. Other names to watch are Alexandre Pato, who started the season hot but has cooled off in recent weeks, as well as guys like Mauricio Pereyra and Junior Urso. Pereyra is Orlando City’s third Designated Player and has the best range of passing on the team in addition to being great with the ball at his feet. Urso is a box-to-box type midfielder who has a few goals in him and covers a ton of ground.
DT: Orlando has five losses this season, with four of those coming at home. What has led to their struggles at Exploria Stadium and how might they right the ship Saturday with the Dynamo in town?
TML: Orlando’s home form has been extremely strange. The losses have been pretty ugly ones too, 4-2 to LAFC, 3-0 to the New York Red Bulls, and 3-1 to FC Dallas with the 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati the only one that had a respectable scoreline. A large part of those losses are down to mistakes that the Lions made. That was the case in both the LAFC and FC Dallas games, where Orlando’s opponents took advantage of mistakes and mental lapses by OCSC and punished them ruthlessly. Cleaning that sort of stuff up should help a lot, although it won’t make a difference in games like the Red Bulls loss where the team looked almost completely devoid of life. Cutting out the mistakes and staying focused for 90 minutes would be a good start though.
We want to thank Ben and our friends at The Mane Land for giving us some information about Orlando City. Best of luck tomorrow! You can check out our answers to their questions over at The Mane Land.