One thing that no one will be upset about is the fact that former Sporting KC striker Dom Dwyer is not expected to play. Since Everton Luiz is still in red card jail and we can’t watch him dominate Dwyer, maybe it’s for the best.
Also of note: Star midfielder Nani will also start the season on suspension so he will not feature for Orlando City SC. So, what will Orlando look like under former Dallas head coach Pareja? Let’s break it down.
So far, Orlando has never made the playoffs. Oscar Pareja is the fourth coach for Orlando since they entered the league in 2015. To put that in perspective, RSL had Jeff Cassar as head coach in 2015 and we are on our second head coach after him. Pareja is hopeful that this is the year that Orlando starts to change the story of the club and has invited fans of Orlando to make the choice to think that everything will go right. Maybe this is their year.
Adding to the team this year is a new keeper, Pedro Gallese, who is expected to start, and Brazilian center back Antonio Carlos, and they will try to shore up a defense that allowed 52 goals in 2019.
In addition, Orlando added Júnior Urso, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Andres Perea. The Lions also have four rookies on the squad this year, with homegrown players Jordan Bender and David Loera joining SuperDraft selections Daryl Dike and Joey DeZart. Without Dwyer and Nani in the mix, Tesho Akindele, Benji Michel and Mauricio Pereyra will lead an attack that scored 44 goals in 2019, which was 4th worst in the league. Keep in mind that RSL only scored 46 goals in 2019, but their defense allowed 41 to at least give them a positive goal differential.
Expected line up from MLSSoccer.com for Orlando City SC:
Obviously this will not be what we see on Saturday with the aforementioned Nani and Dwyer injuries or suspensions but look to see many of these other players starting.
- Goalkeepers (3): Pedro Gallese, Brian Rowe, Mason Stajduhar
- Defenders (8): Carlos Antonio, Alex De John, Robin Jansson, Kamal Miller, Joao Moutinho, Ruan, Rodrigo Schlegel, Kyle Smith
- Midfielders (11): Jordan Bender, Joey DeZart, Junior Urso, David Loera, Sebastian Jhegson Mendez, Chris Mueller, Andres Perea, Nani, Mauricio Pereyra, Oriol Rosell, Robinho
- Forwards (5): Tesho Akindele, Daryl Dike, Dom Dwyer, Benji Michel, Santiago Patino
So far Orlando City SC has never lost an season opener. Will 2020 be their first? RSL fans sure hope so.