Orlando City on Downward Spiral Entering MLS Clash vs. Toronto

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, July 10, 2018 2:03 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 10, 2018 2:03 PM UTC

The Lions have lost nine consecutive matches, virtually playing themselves out of playoff contention before the All-Star break. Let’s look at their next game and two other MLS matchups this weekend.

MLS: Matchday 20 LookaheadOrlando City SC vs. Toronto FC (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET)Free MLS Picks: Toronto FC PK (-118); Over 3 (-130)Best Lines Offered: Pinnacle; Bovada

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Struggling Orlando City (6-1-11, 25 GF/41 GA) is in the throes of a nasty 9-game losing streak. New Lions head coach James O’Connor made his debut on July 7, seeing OCSC lose 4-1 to expansion side LAFC in Lipstick City. OCSC has been outscored 24-6 over this soul-sucking span which saw Dominic Dwyer (7 goals) and the Lions earn a draw and a win in U.S. Open Cup play. So do we keep fading OCSC? Is water wet? Does Jimmy Page know how to play guitar?

Looking at the L5 games between defending MLS champion Toronto FC (4-3-9, 24 GF/30 GA) and OCSC (TOR 2-1 OCSC, OCSC 1-3 TOR , TOR 2-1 OCSC, TOR 0-0 OCSC , OCSC 1-2 TOR) in this still relatively new Eastern Conference series, we see that Sebastian Giovinco (4 goals) and the Reds are an unbeaten 4-1-0 (9 GF/4 GA) in three 2-1 victories and four fixtures which saw at least 3 goals. Even with Jozy Altidore (foot surgery) still on the mend, Jonathan Osorio (6 goals), Víctor Vázquez (5 goals) and 10th-place TFC (1-2-6 on road) should be able to earn a draw or a win in the Sunshine State. Predicted final score: Toronto FC 3, Orlando City 2.

New York City FC vs. Columbus Crew SC (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)Free MLS Picks: NYCFC (+106); Over 2½ (-154)Best Lines Offered: Pinnacle; Intertops

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David Villa (8 goals) and NYCFC (10-4-4, 35 GF/24 GA) welcome Gyasi Zardes (11 goals) and the Crew (8-6-6, 24 GF/23 GA) to the Big Apple in a big Eastern Conference fixture for both sides with Columbus (DDLLWL) notching just one win in its L6 fixtures and NYCFC (WLWDWL) and outstanding GK Sean Johnson having allowed just 2 goals in its L4 home games (NYCFC 1-0 RBNY, NYCFC 2-1 TOR, NYCFC 1-1 ATL, NYCFC 3-0 OCSC) in a stadium that’s known for some high-scoring games.

Looking at the L5 meetings in this series (NYCFC 2-0 CLB, CLB 4-1 NYCFC, NYCFC 2-2 CLB, CLB 2-3 NYCFC, NYCFC 4-1 CLB), we see the Bronx Blues to be a healthy 4-0-1 (12 GF/9 GA) in four games with at least 4 total goals scored in four of the five with NYCFC 2-1-0 in the L3 at home. Here, Federico Higuaín (3 goals) and Columbus (2-3-4 on road) should probably find a way to score at least once, but expect playmaker Villa, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (8 goals), Max Morález (7 goals) and unbeaten-at-home NYCFC (9-1-0) to find a way to win the war against a club seemingly down some offensively compared to last season, with only two players with more than 1 goal. Predicted final score NYCFC 3, Crew 1.

Atlanta United vs. Seattle Sounders (Sunday, 2 p.m. ET)Free MLS Picks: Atlanta United -1 (-125); Over 3 (-113)Best Lines Offered: BetOnline

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Goal-machine Josef Martínez (18 goals), Miguel Almirón (8 goals) and Atlanta United FC (4-3-8, 24 GF/29 GA) host Clint Dempsey (1 goal) and Seattle (6-3-6, 31 GF/24 GA) in an inter-conference affair from Atlanta. The Sounders are 1-1-1 on the road, while Atlanta United is 1-1-1 at home. With Atlanta United having expanded into the MLS last season, these two clubs have met only once, in Seattle last season, in a game that ended 0-0. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing?

But we can probably expect a goal or five in this fixture in the loud and packed confines of Mercedes-Benz Stadium as the homeboys from Atlanta (DWDWLW) are starting to get their groove on again while Seattle (WLDLWD) has only one player with more than 2 goals (Will Bruin, 5), meaning this one could get ugly if the host Five Stripes can dictate the pace and/or score an early goal and ignite the packed crowd, likely the size of a big town (attendance 71,932 vs. OCSC last home match). Predicted final score: Atlanta United 3, Sounders 1.

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