With Orlando City’s inaugural MLS match on March 8th quickly approaching, the team traveled to Charleston today to prepare for the upcoming Carolina Challenge Cup. The team will train for two days leading up to their sold out match on Saturday night against New York City FC. They’ll then play host Charleston Battery on Wednesday, and close out the tourney against the Houston Dynamo next Saturday.
Let’s review some key “things to look for” in the team’s final three matches of the preseason.
We all know the formation Coach Adrian Heath will employ on March 8th. His 4-2-3-1 has been a staple in his tenure at the club. These final three matches will be a great opportunity to study how some of the club’s fresher faces are adopting Heath’s style of play. Keep an eye on Brek Shea at left back. He’s adjusting to a new position and it will be interesting to watch his continued competition with club veteran Luke Boden as we head into the final weeks. On the attacking end, watch the movement and play of Kaká and Kevin Molino. The two have been dynamic in attack from all angles on the pitch in the early parts of preseason.
Pato or Róchez?
You have the crafty, proven veteran and the DP with an incredibly high ceiling. Who will start in week one? That could very well be decided in these three games. Martin Paterson, on loan from Huddersfield Town is a very experienced striker. It’s become clear from watching him in the preseason that his savvy and hustle alone will likely create plentiful chances for himself and his teammates. On the other hand, Bryan Róchez has turned heads in his short time in camp. The young Honduran is quick on the ball, strong in the air, and doesn’t seem to be gun-shy at all. Whichever of the two ends up winning the starting job, both are likely to earn playing time early in the season with their exceptional starts at the club.
A Preview Of March 8th
When Orlando City squares off against New York City FC in front of a sold out crowd at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, you might see one of the most interesting preseason games in MLS history. It will be a chess match for the ages. How much of their hands will Adrian Heath and Jason Kreis tip? Will they show their expected starting XI? How will the two teams match up? It will be a game you don’t want to miss if you’re planning on attending or watching the teams’ March 8th bout. I imagine the game will play out like two boxers circling in a ring, throwing jabs, looking for weak points, hoping to land a knockout two weeks later.
It should be a fun week for all involved in Charleston. You can stream Saturday's match here. Orlando City’s matches on February 21st and 25th are sold out, but there are still tickets available for next Saturday’s fixture against Houston Dynamo.
Orlando City will host several events leading up to March 8 as part of Operation #FillTheBowl. Admission to many of these events includes a ticket to the historic first game. More information is available at www.OrlandoCitySC.com/FillTheBowl.
To purchase season, group or individual tickets, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com or call 855-ORL-CITY.