Know Your Enemy: Is Orlando better than their record?

Something you may not know about a team that struggled mightily to defend last season: They’re good in back now, and I mean like… really good. 

Orlando City has the second best Expected Goals Against average in MLS, and they are one of only six teams allowing fewer shots per game than the Union. James O’Connor has somehow turned this squad into one of the best defensive units in the league. 

Oh, and he has Nani now. 

Who is Nani? He’s an enemy to fear. The Portugese attacker can score from anywhere, is a 1v1 menace, and has had luck on his side in the first half of the season. Nani’s star power has dwarfed that of Dom Dwyer, but the American striker is quietly having an excellent year as well, and alongside him Chris Mueller is blossoming into a consistent threat with a tireless pressing engine. 

Orlando City is good, but they can’t seem to put both sides of the ball together on a consistent basis; O’Connor’s team remains without a winning streak in 2019. 

Another weird fact: It has been four games since the Purple Lions played in a match in which both teams scored, and the last time both teams scored more than one goal? April 6. 

The Union will be looking to keep Orlando — coming off a win over Columbus — from starting that first streak of the season on July 3 when the teams face off in Orlando on PHL17.

 

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