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Over the last five games, Orlando City have developed an alternate-game win-loss pattern. It started after their elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League against Tigres UANL. They lost against Charlotte FC and bounced back with a stunning win over Philadelphia Union. They lost the next game against Nashville SC, before beating Minnesota United. Last week, Orlando City dropped points after tasting defeat at the hands of DC United.
LA Galaxy have made an abysmal start to the season, and the only positive so far has come last week after the club secured its first win of the season. The win ended LA Galaxy’s eight-game winless streak, during which the club lost five games and drew three. In the last five, they have lost three, drawn one and finally won one when they defeated Austin FC last week.
The outcome of this game is difficult to predict as both clubs are fighting to reach the playoffs in their respective divisions. The hosts have a better record, but the visitor’s resurgence could be underway after last week’s result. Both sides are fully capable of cancelling each other out, and that could see the spoils being shared between the two clubs.
The two sides have met only six times in the MLS, and the head-to-head record is evenly balanced as both sides have won three games each. In the last three encounters between the two sides, LA Galaxy have two wins, and Orlando City have won once.
Three of the six games were played in Orlando City’s backyard, where the hosts had a perfect record till the 2019 MLS season when LA Galaxy nabbed their first win at the Exploria Stadium courtesy of a Jonathan dos Santos goal.
Before that encounter, the Exploria Stadium hosted two clashes between these two clubs in 2015 and 2017. In 2015, the hosts walloped LA Galaxy 4-0, and in the 2017 season, they scraped past the visitors 2-1.
As things stand, Orlando City are occupying the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Although a hefty chunk of the season is still remaining, the hosts are no strangers to clinching the lowest spots of the MLS playoff qualifications.
Last season, Orlando City did the same as they finished seventh in the Eastern Conference and clinched the last playoff spot in that division. In the 2021 season, they secured the second-last qualifying spot after finishing three points clear of New York Red Bulls.
Orlando City is one of those MLS clubs yet to win a title. Despite nabbing a couple of impressive wins over stronger opponents, the hosts are yet to establish themselves as title contenders. However, reaching the playoffs will be the primary goal this season again.
In the eight games Orlando City have played so far, they have won three. Interestingly, two of those wins have come on the road, while they have secured just a solitary win at home this season.
The game against LA Galaxy will be their sixth home game of the campaign. Three of the five they have played so far have reaped no points. In the other two, Orlando City have drawn one and won the other.
Surprisingly, their away record is the best in the Eastern Conference, as they are yet to lose on their travels this season, winning two and drawing one of their three away games. At the same time, they hold the worst home record in their division
In the 2022 MLS season, Orlando City kept nine clean sheets. This season, they have kept two, but both came at the start of the season when the club beat New York Red Bulls 1-0 in the season opener and then held FC Cincinnati to a goalless draw.
In the six league games they have played after those results, Orlando City have failed to keep a clean sheet. The leaky defense is already costing them crucial points, and if they do not fix the backline, the club will undoubtedly drop several points throughout the season.
At the start of every season, LA Galaxy are considered to be title contenders because of the history and the quality of their squad. Injuries wreaked havoc this season on the squad, and the club has gotten off to a disastrous start.
Sitting three points clear of the bottom of the Western Conference, LA Galaxy are eager to bounce back and make their way into the playoff spots. The campaign’s first win last weekend provided much-needed relief, as the club is now just two points off the last playoff spot.
The new season is still in its early days, but finishing at the top of the Western Division feels like a farfetched dream for the five-time MLS champions. They are already 12 points behind rivals and defending champions Los Angeles FC and 13 behind league-leaders St. Louis City SC.
The first win of the new campaign for LA Galaxy came against Austin FC last weekend. Javier Hernandez and Ricard Puig struck in the second half as the five-time champions nabbed three points in their own backyard at the Dignity Health Sports Park.
The upcoming challenge against Orlando City is on the road. Despite the hosts possessing a horrendous home record, a win for LA Galaxy will be anything but a cakewalk. The momentum is with the hosts, but a lot more than that will be required to clinch all three points.
LA Galaxy’s away form last season was also subpar, as they managed to notch just six wins out of 17 and finished with a negative goal difference of -3 on the away table. This season, they still have a chance to improve that record.
LA Galaxy will be extremely pleased to see only one name on their injury list this weekend. The biggest name off the dreaded list is Hernandez, who recovered from his hamstring injury three weeks ago.
The Mexican came on as a substitute in the 55th minute against Houston Dynamo FC but could not make the desired impact. However, in the next game against Los Angeles FC, he pocketed an assist and was on the scoresheet last weekend against Austin FC.
The 34-year-old has already nabbed two goal contributions in two starts, and he is definitely hungry to add to that list in the next game against Orlando City.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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