Orlando City-Dynamo Preview
It's been more than a month since Orlando City won its most recent MLS contest. A drought that seems more and more likely to keep City from making the playoffs.
Orlando looks to keep its season-high winless stretch from reaching six games when it visits the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night.
City (9-13-9) enters this matchday 10th in the Eastern Conference, four points behind New England, which owns the seventh and final playoff spot in the East. Though Nani (12 goals, nine assists) had two goals with an assist as Orlando rallied for a 3-3 draw over New England last weekend, it's 0-2-3 since beating Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 14.
Orlando's margin for error is essentially down to none, and desperation is high in these final days of the 2019 campaign.
"I think we need to focus on performance," coach James O'Connor told Orlando's official website. "We aren't in a position now to be able to fully control our own destiny, so I think what we need to do is make sure that we get a strong performance in Houston, try to get three points in Houston and then see what happens after that."
Orlando is 0-2-4 on the road since winning at Columbus on June 29, one of its three road victories in 2019. Of course, Houston's situation is more dire than Orlando's as the Dynamo franchise seems already to be looking toward the future while sitting 10-16-4 on the season and with just one victory over its last nine MLS matches.
Then again, with the playoffs all but out of the picture and basically little to play for if being realistic, the Dynamo could pose a genuine threat to a fragile club like Orlando. City have also managed just one goal while going 1-1-2 in league play versus Houston.
"We understand it's going to be a very tough game, tough conditions," O'Connor said. "It's a game, where again, we're excited and looking forward to."
Houston beat Minnesota United 2-0 on Sept. 11, in its most recent home match. However, it was unable to build on that triumph in last weekend's 2-1 loss at Vancouver. Mauro Manotas scored his team-leading 13th goal to equalize in the 78th minute, but the Whitecaps went ahead for good with a goal on 90.
It also has not been an easy week of training for the Dynamo, who are dealing with the affects of Tropical Storm Imelda hitting the area. Regardless, they continue press on.
"You have to keep reiterating, believing in the process, and believing in what we're trying to do and what we're trying to build," interim coach Davy Arnaud told the Dynamo's official website.
Updated September 19, 2019