The Lions return to the road this weekend to face off against Minnesota United. The expansion side started off on wobbly legs, but they have found their footing in recent weeks. For Head Coach Jason Kreis, the path to success is a return to the team’s original values: a defensive focus combined with a team mentality.
“We need to stop, take a breath, and remember what we talked about in the offseason, what we worked so hard in the preseason for which was not to be a team that allowed a lot of goals against us,” Kreis said. “And for me, anytime you go away it also affords you an opportunity to be singularly focused on that and that’s what we’re going to attempt to do.”
Minnesota United’s offense is led by former Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino. But their top goal-scorer is Christian Ramirez, who has seven goals on the season thus far. They have lost a lot of close matches throughout their inaugural season, and Kreis knows that his team will have to be on the top of their game to walk away with points.
“We’re quite familiar with one of their players, Mr. Molino. Apart from him, there are another three guys up top-- the group in their top four is very gifted,” Kreis said. “They are creating a lot of goal-scoring chances in their games, they probably haven’t taken as many as they ought to have in those games. So again, we know it’s a team we have to be really committed to defending well if we want to get a result.”
“They had some early season difficulties, being a new team and being together, but they seem to have made things come together a lot more and I thought they put up a good fight against L.A, they were beating Toronto and ended up losing,” Goalkeeper Joe Bendik said. “They’re better than what people think they are and that can be difficult for us.”
Orlando City is looking to rebound after a loss to New York City FC over the past weekend. The men are eager for points-- that hunger, combined with an increasing skill on the road, will be enough motivation for them.