Orlando City SC will be looking to bounce back from its worst loss of the season on Saturday when the Lions put their perfect home mark on the line against Sporting Kansas City.
Orlando City (6-3-0, 18 points) sustained a 4-0 drubbing at Houston in its last time out for its second straight loss.
The Lions have been stellar at home and enter the weekend in second place in the Eastern Conference. The Lions have outscored visitors 8-2 in five straight victories at home to start the season.
“Their fans seem to be really into creating an environment that’s difficult to play in,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes told reporters this week. “From a player’s point of view, that is an environment you want be a part of when you’re a professional.”
Sporting KC (5-2-3, 18 points) also is coming off a shutout loss, 2-0 at Minnesota last week, but arrives in Orlando tied with FC Dallas atop the Western Conference table.
Kansas City, however, will be without forward Dom Dwyer, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Dwyer leads Sporting KC with five goals and an assist.
Orlando City coach Jason Kreis told reporters this week that even without Dwyer, the Lions can’t afford to give anything less than their best effort against Kansas City.
“You tend to think that someone who is that important for them and their leading goal scorer, the guy they look to score the majority of their goals being out, it’s always going to have an effect,” Kreis said. “But we have to be careful that we don’t relax about that situation because I’m sure whoever plays in his spot will be a quality player as well.”
The Lions are led by forward Cyle Larin, who is among the MLS leaders with six goals.
“It’s a tough one,” Vermes told reporters. “(Larin) can be a monster out there. He’s physically extremely gifted. He’s a very good soccer player. He does very well with coming in, linking up. He knows how to get behind you. He’s a true goal scorer.”
This is the first meeting this season between the two clubs. Sporting KC came from behind to top Orlando City 2-1 last May.