Orlando City is facing its first midweek game of the season.
The Lions (3-5-3, 12 points) take on the Seattle Sounders (6-1-4, 22 points) at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday on the road. It’s the second match this week for the Lions, who are trying to break out of their first losing skid of the season.
This also is the first time this season Orlando City will play back-to-back road matches. Coach James O’Connor, who has stressed player management and a “next-man-up” mentality, will get to see the fruits of his labor Wednesday evening.
O’Connor said he expects a host of players to get minutes throughout this week. O’Connor declined to say whether players who weren’t involved with Sunday’s 1-0 loss to Atlanta United – Sacha Kljestan, Lamine Sané, Uri Rosell and Nani, for instance – would be in the mix against the Sounders.
“We feel as if we’ve got players that can play,” O’Connor said. “We’re trying to make sure that everyone feels a part of what we’re trying to do. So, I think throughout the course of the three games, I would anticipate, pretty much, a lot of players getting a lot of minutes.
“For us, again, it’s just being very open about that. Giving the players the confidence that they need and then giving them the opportunity. If you’re a player and you have a chance to go play in Atlanta, a chance to go and play in Seattle and then play at home in front of our fantastic supporters.”
The Lions are looking to fix recent attacking woes. Orlando City has just three goals in its last five matches and all of those goals were scored by Nani, who missed Sunday’s game due to calf inflammation. The club hasn’t confirmed whether Nani made the trip to Seattle.
“I think, from our perspective, we want to create chances, we want to be an attacking team and we want to score goals,” O’Connor said. “We’re really, really close. We couldn’t have asked any more of the players [against Atlanta United].
“When you look at the volume of chances that we’ve created, as I say, I’m repeating myself: to get that level of chance creation and then not capitalize, for all of us, is very, very frustrating.”
Against Atlanta United, the Lions created seven chances but failed to capitalize on their opportunities, leading to a frustrating 1-0 loss.
Midfielder Will Johnson, who had a shot on target against Atlanta United, said the team needs more quality in its attacking moments.
“You can put in all the tactics, you can work as hard as you want, but at the end of the day, the game comes down to putting the ball in the net and, obviously, that’s something that we failed to do,” Johnson said.
Forward Tesho Akindele said the team is looking to “reset” heading into Wednesday’s match.
“You kind of have to just have that bounce-back mentality,” Akindele said.
Seattle, on the other hand, has gone unbeaten during its past four matches, but has just one win – a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo on Saturday – during that span. The Sounders also have three games to play this week, though Seattle has the benefit of two of those three matches being at home.
The Sounders are unbeaten (5-0-2, 17 points) at CenturyLink Field.
“I said to the squad before the game [Saturday] that we’ve been working our butts off for one point at a time,” Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei told the Seattle Times after Saturday’s match. “It’s time to get a little bit more greedy and put in the same effort to get three points, especially at home.”
Orlando City at Seattle Sounders, 10:30
Where: CenturyLink Field
Watch: WRBW-My65, Youtube TV (Orlando only), ESPN+
The Buzz: Orlando City is looking for its second road win of the season. The Lions take on the Seattle Sounders, who are unbeaten at home through seven matches in 2019. … Orlando City defensive midfielder/centerback Carlos Ascues is questionable for the match, though he hasn’t been seen at recent training sessions. … The Lions are 1-2-2 (5 points) on the road. … Star designated player Nani missed Orlando City’s last match with calf inflammation, but the team hopes he’ll be ready for Seattle. … Sounders winger Victor Rodriguez left Seattle’s last match with a hamstring strain. … Defender Chad Marshall is questionable for the match with right knee inflammation. … Midfielder Gustav Svensson (left hamstring strain) is out.