Union-Orlando City: Lineups and prematch thoughts
- The suspension of Warren Creavalle for a red card last week against Chicago makes the reintegration of Vincent Nogueira relatively easy, the Frenchman slotting into the No. 8 role. Ilsinho also misses out with an undisclosed injury, Sebastien Le Toux inserted on the wing. Tranquillo Barnetta remains on the bench behind Roland Alberg starting, but after debuting last week, the Swiss midfielder could be fit for a longer spell.
- I discussed the Brazilian influences running through both teams this week, though that has been minimized sans Ilsinho. Former Real Madrid, Roma and Arsenal forward Julio Baptista makes the bench and could debut, reportedly in some of the best shape of his life. The thought of Ken Tribbett and Richie Marquez defending Kaka and Baptista still seems a touch ridiculous, but that’s the magic of MLS.
- Brian Carroll today will play in MLS match No. 349 of his lengthy career, sixth in MLS history and two behind Davy Arnaud for fifth. Two of the players ahead of him on the list remain active, including Brad Davis, whom Carroll temporarily passes for third all-time in his 326th start. Kyle Beckerman (382 games) and Steve Ralston (372 starts) are the all-time leaders.
- Orlando City are forced into a raft of changes by injuries (Tommy Redding, Cyle Larin and one to Cristian Higuita late enough that Orlando names a short bench) and Brek Shea’s suspension. Luke Boden and Aurelian Collin step into the defense, providing two areas for the Union to attack with pace, particularly with the overlap of Keegan Rosenberry down Boden’s wing.
- No shock that Kaka starts as the false nine. How the rest of the midfield buzzes about him, with the midfield triangle of Servando Carrasco, Darwin Ceren and Antonio Nocerino, will be interesting to observe.
- Red cards have become anything but unexpected in MLS this season, and these teams seem particularly susceptible. Of the eight games the teams have been involved with, only four have ended without a red card, and last week’s Portland-Orlando game doesn’t really count since Shea was assessed a red retroactively.