Are the Fire actually good? Signs say yes, but then again, it could just be a mirage. The Dallas team we played didn’t have too many main starters and all of this can just slip away at any moment with a single injury. Niko or Basti could take an injury, Dax could get an injury, literally anyone can get an injury and this whole thing will fall apart! In fact, this game will be our first without a major component: Dax McCarty. He’s off with the USMNT and we’re off to go see Orlando. Why is this so important? Because Dax is the guy who’s been everywhere for every game this season and hasn’t missed a single minute. He’s a big part of our success and he will be gone. But whoever will be here, will have to face these guys:
Orlando had a blazing start with an amazing five game home winning streak, before conceding a draw to SKC and a loss to NYCFC. This was in large part due to a beautiful trio of Cyle Larin, Carlos Rivas, and Kaka. But now Kaka has been out with a calf injury and the rest of the team’s been a bit gutted by the US U20’s (not a bad problem to have, tbh). But now it looks like Kaka might just be ready to come back in time for the game against the Fire and everyone knows how good he can be. But here’s what they’ve looked like without him (and a bit with him):
Vs. NYCFC 5/23
Vs. Minnesota 5/27
Vs. DC United 5/31
Can We Make It Five?
So the Fire have four wins. Can we make it five? While you could look at the team itself and the opponents we’re up against, another good thing to look at is the rest of the league and how they do. So far this season there have been 6 winning streaks other than our own and three have ended at three wins, two have ended at four wins, and the last was Toronto’s 6 win rampage. What this means: absolutely nothing, but it was fun though. Seriously, if the Fire win this Sunday, that makes it the longest winning streak in Fire history since we got out of the shoot-out era.
Cyle Larin has been getting a ton of press and it’s for good reason. This guy is getting called the Canadian Messi, but to be honest, he’s more of a Wayne Rooney (when he was still good). His size and presence in the box is comparable to a defender and his finishing ability one of the best in the league, only really behind Niko and a few others. He’s had double-digit goal seasons since being drafted two seasons ago. All of this has garnered attention over-seas, but according to most American side reports he’s sticking around. It doesn’t matter for this game, but that’s how good he is.
One Aggressive Center Back
When talking about goals, most people like to discuss the build-up of play or the general offensive prowess. Not many people actually consider the defense and even then it has to be fairly obvious. One thing that I saw that was not obvious at first glance was Orlando’s propensity to have just one center back run out to challenge the attacker. This opens up a huge amount of space, especially if the attacker just gets around him. This is the sort of thing that the Fire need to be waiting for to get those easy chances.
How To Watch
Kickoff: Sunday June 4, 2017; 7:30 EDT/6:30 CDT
TV/Streaming: FS1, Fox Deportes, MLS Live
So are the Fire going to make history or are we going to fall prey to The Wall? Stalemates are also always an option, but what do you think? Tell us in the comments.