by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. It’s a midweek fixture at The Lion’s Den for the Sounders FC in the former Spanish territory of Florida. When we face this particular opponent, you think to yourself “How is it that we’re going to beat Shakespeare’s Orland— I mean Orlando Bloo— I mean Tony Orlando and Daw— I mean Orlando City?”

I’ll tell you how we beat them. With goals, that’s how. We smash the football into the back of their net repeatedly and without mercy making ourselves the worst guests they’ve had the misfortune of hosting. Simple as.

At stake: Securing qualification for MLS Cup. Is MLS Cup the most prestigious trophy we could attempt to win? Debatable. Is MLS Cup the shiniest trophy available? Possibly. Is MLS Cup the physically most massive trophy? It just might be. All we need to secure qualification is two points, and a win gets us three. As matches go, this one looks pretty massive. As massive as the Jet Lag our lads will feel playing in the eastern time zone when it’s only Wednesday arvo here. Relevance established.

As far away as Florida is, there is no escaping the groundswell of energy produced by the Green Family. Gather our numbers where we may, at the pub and at each other’s dwellings. Support, as always, is vital. If we generate the energy, I fully believe the impact will be felt in central Florida.

Before kick-off, join me in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

I don’t suppose we could clone you? Just the once?

The Good News
We’ve never once lost to the Lions (2-1-0). The Sounders have hit eight goals over the last two matches. Eight goals in two matches. We have become the football equivalent of a wood chipper. Genius. The Sounders are 8th in the league table, and Orlando City are second from bottom.

Orlando have only won four matches out of 31 this season and are winless in their last 12 matches. That’s right, Orlando City haven’t won since they beat Toronto FC 2:1 at Church Street. In fact, Orlando City have won only once in their last 22 matches (1-3-18).

The Orlando City defence bleeds goals at a rate of 2.26/match, whilst we are tied with the Red Donkeys for conceding the least goals in the league at 33.

When considering the squad list of our opponent, I only recognise the names Kljestan and Dwyer. As for the rest: “WHO ARE YE?”

The Bad News
The Sounders are missing several key players for this fixture. Smith and Shipp are out with hamstring issues. Lodeiro, Svensson, Delem, and Ruidiaz are gone because they are outstanding enough to be selected by their national teams.

Bruin has served well, ably deputising for Ruidiaz at centre-forward, with his playmaking and goal scoring. However, Svensson and Lodeiro are harder to replace.

Svensson gives us flexibility in the team as he can play both centre-half and defensive midfield at a high level. The absence of both Svensson and Delem means we have no cover at defensive midfield. In my estimation, this forces Cristian Roldan to relinquish his new role at right-wing and return to his natural position.

Lodeiro is the most difficult to replace of the lot. We just don’t have another player that can do what he can. I would attempt to explain it, but Casey Dunau has done a right, proper job of it — INCLUDING VISUALS at Sounder at Heart. Click the link and recognise.

So yeh, we’re miles better in the standings than Orlando and far better recent form, but can we take the points from Florida without Nico?

The Gaffer has hinted that we could see Bwana, Wingo, and Alex Roldan tonight. I wonder if he meant they’ll be in the team or if they’ll come off the bench?

Orlando defeated the Red Donkeys 4:3 this season. When we visited Harrison, we lost 2:1. Orlando also defeated Portland without needing the Treecutters to score on themselves. I’m no happier about it than you, I’m just sayin’.

On paper, it’s the Sounders by a landslide. But I can’t escape the gnawing feeling that this could be the easiest three points we’ve ever dropped by coming out shambles. No pressure, lads.

The Side I Would Select
GK Frei
LB Nouhou
LCH Marshall
RB Leerdam
LDM Alonso
RDM C. Roldan
LW Bwana
CAM Rodriguez
RW Wingo
CF Bruin

The Side I Think The Gaffer Will Select
GK Frei
LB Nouhou Tolo
LCH Marshall
RB Leerdam
LDM Alonso
RDM C. Roldan
LW Bwana
CAM Rodriguez
RW Wingo
ST Bruin

Sides like Orlando City, winless in 12 matches, have a tendency to show their teeth at the damnedest times.

General notes on personnel
FIFA window absences will impact this match.

Cyle Larin left Orlando for Turkey and Besiktas, so that’s one ace striker we don’t have to face. Orlando added Sacha Kljestan giving up two players and a stack of cash to the Red Donkeys for his services.

Comparison against common opponents
SEA 2:1 DC / ORL 1:1 DC – DC 3:2 ORL
SEA 3:1 MIN – MIN 1:2 SEA / ORL 1:2 MIN
SEA 3:1 NYC / NYC 2:0 ORL – NYC 3:0 ORL – ORL 0:2 NYC
POR 1:0 SEA – SEA 2:3 POR – POR 0:1 SEA / ORL 3:2 POR
SEA 0:1 PHI / PHI 0:2 ORL – ORL 2:2 PHI
SJ 0:1 SEA / ORL 3:2 SJ
COL 1:2 SEA – SEA 4:0 COL / COL 1:2 ORL
SEA 0:1 RSL – RSL 2:0 SEA / ORL 3:1 RSL
ATL 1:1 SEA / ORL 1:2 ATL – ATL 4:0 ORL
TOR 1:2 SEA / TOR 2:1 ORL – ORL 2:1 TOR
SEA 1:1 CHI / ORL 1:2 CHI – CHI 4:0 ORL
SEA 2:0 VAN – VAN 1:2 SEA / VAN 5:2 ORL
SEA 0:1 MTL / MTL 3:0 ORL – ORL 0:2 MTL
SEA 0:1 LAFC – LAFC 1:0 SEA / LAFC 4:1 ORL
SEA 0:0 CLB / CLB 3:2 ORL
SEA 5:0 LAG – LAG 3:0 SEA / LAG 4:3 ORL
NE 0:0 SEA / ORL 3:3 NE – NE 2:0 ORL
SKC 2:2 SEA – SEA 3:1 SKC / SKC 1:0 ORL
SEA 4:1 HOU / ORL 0:0 HOU
DAL 3:0 SEA – SEA 2:1 DAL / DAL 2:0 ORL

Know Thine Enemy
(As they lined up in Foxboro on 13 October)

Goalkeeper –
Adam Grinwis, 26, is a domestic footballer produced by Michigan (NCAA). Though Grinwis has 63 matches of experience at the USL level with Michigan Bucks, Rochester, and St. Louis, he has only played twice for Orlando City earning one clean sheet since his signing in January 2018. I would expect that the regular starter Joe Bendik would be in goal for tonight’s fixture.

Defence –
RJ Allen, 28, is a domestic footballer produced by Monmouth (NCAA). Following a 13-match three-goal PDL apprenticeship with Central Jersey, Allen signed with Skive IK of the Danish second division where he played 13 times. Following his stay in Denmark, Allen saw two years without football where he trained with such players as David Villa and Mike Grella whilst coaching youth football in Staten Island. In 2015, NYCFC offered him a contract. Between 2015-17 Allen played 53 matches for NYCFC scoring one goal during his time in The Bronx. In December 2017 Allen moved to Orlando City on a swap deal for a 3rd round draft pick. Since his move to Florida, Allen has played 18 matches assisting on two goals. Allen’s MLS totals are 71 matches with one goal and 13 assists.

Carlos Ascues, 26, is a Venezuelan-born Peruvian international produced by Alianza Lima. In two stints with Alianza Lima, Ascues played 45 matches scoring seven goals. Other notable clubs Ascues played for include Benfica B (22 matches/0 goals) and a single appearance for VfL Wolfsburg. In 2017 Wolfsburg sold Ascues to Alianza Lima. Ascues is currently on loan with Orlando City from Alianza Lima. Since his move to Church Street, Ascues has played seven matches for the Lions. Ascues has 21 caps for Peru with five goals.

Lamine Sane, 31, is a French-born Senegalese international produced by US Lormont, Stade Bordelais, and Bordeaux. Before joining Orlando City in 2018, Sane notably featured for Bordeaux (188 matches/7 goals), and Werder Bremen (38/2). Since moving to central Florida, Sane has played 14 times for the Lions scoring one goal. Sane has 31 caps for Senegal.

Shane O’Neill, 25, is an Irish-born American footballer produced by Colorado Rapids. O’Neill’s career began with Colorado Rapids in 2012 and saw him play 52 times scoring one goal over four seasons. In 2015, O’Neill signed with Apollon Limassol of Cyprus. O’Neill would never play for Apollon instead being lent to Excelsior, Cambridge United (2 matches/0 goals), and NAC Breda (25/1) from 2015-2017. Signing with Excelsior in 2017 produced only one first-team opportunity. At the end of the Belgian season, O’Neill signed with Orlando City on a three-year deal. Since his move to Church Street, O’Neill has played in 10 matches. O’Neill’s MLS totals are 62 matches with one goal over five seasons.

Scott Sutter, 32, is an English-born Swiss international produced by Millwall, Barnet, Aston Villa, Charlton, and Grasshopper. Beginning his professional journey with Grasshoppers in 2003, Sutter would play 62 times scoring two goals for the Zurich club from 2003-2009. 2009 saw Sutter move to Young Boys where he played 185 times scoring five goals during his eight-year tenure in Bern, briefly interrupted by a loan to FC Zurich (13/1). Sutter signed with Orlando City in 2017 and has since played 48 times for his new club scoring four goals and assisting on five. Sutter has two caps for Switzerland.

Midfield –
Chris Mueller, 22, is a domestic footballer produced by Chicago Sockers and Wisconsin (NCAA). Beginning his pro career in 2017 at Chicago FC United (USL 2), Mueller played nine times scoring four goals. Mueller signed with Orlando City after being drafted sixth overall in 2018 and has since played 29 times scoring three goals and assisting on six.

Tony Rocha, 25, is a domestic footballer produced by Tulsa (NCAA). Rocha’s pro career begins with a four-year apprenticeship spent between the PDL, NPSL, and USL. Rocha signed a permanent contract with Orlando City in 2016 and has since played 23 times for the Lions assisting on four goals.

Will Johnson, 31, is a Canadian international produced by Woodridge Storm and Blackburn Rovers. Johnson began his career for Chicago Fire (6 matches/1 goal) in 2005. A 2006 move to The Netherlands and Heerenveen (14/1) produced some opportunity, but most of his Dutch adventure was spent on loan from the Frisian club at De Graafschap (26/2). 2008 saw Johnson return to America signing a contract with Salt Lake (114/9) beginning a four-year term in Sandy. From 2013-2016, Johnson would play with Portland (69/15), and Toronto (23/2) before signing with Orlando City in 2017. Since his move to Church Street, Johnson has played 52 matches scoring three goals and assisting on four. Johnson’s MLS totals are 264 matches with 30 goals and 24 assists over 12 seasons. Johnson has 43 caps for Canada scoring four goals.

Richie Laryea, 23, is a Canadian national produced by Sigma FC and Akron (NCAA). Beginning his career in 2015 with Sigma FC (League1 Ontario), Laryea played 12 times scoring seven goals. A move to Orlando City B (USL) saw Laryea play 35 times scoring three goals. Laryea signed with Orlando City in 2016 and has since played 20 matches assisting on one goal over three seasons.

Forward –
Josue Colman, 20, is a Paraguayan national produced by Cerro Porteno. Colman began his career with Cerro Porteno playing 48 times scoring four goals from 2016-2017. In 2018 Colman signed with Orlando City and has since played 22 matches scoring one goal and assisting on five. With Dom Dwyer having served his one-match ban for accumulated bookings, it’s a safe bet that OCSC’s leading goal scorer will return to the team, likely displacing Colman to the midfield.

Familiar Faces
Not a one.

Orlando City from: Bendik, Grinwis, Edwards, Allen, Ascues, Giro, O’Neill, Sane, Schuler, Sutter, Toia, Colman, Higuita, Johnson, Kljestan, Laryea, Lindley, Powers, Rocha, Rosell, Dwyer, Mueller, Villarreal.

Sounders FC from: Frei, Meredith, Brown, Alfaro, Francis, Kim, Leerdam, Marshall, McCrary, Nouhou Tolo, Torres, Alonso, Bwana, Neagle, Rodriguez, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Wingo, Bruin, Neagle.

Injury List
(as listed on mlssoccer.com at press time)

Orlando City –
OUT: Stajduhar (Ewing Sarcoma), Da Silva (knee), Spector (back).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Pinho (quadriceps).

Sounders FC –
OUT: Morris (ACL), Chenkam (herniated disc), Shipp (hamstring), Smith (hamstring).

International Call-Ups
(It’s possible that some of these players will be back from international duty. It’s possible that they could be selected by their club manager on short or no rest, but I doubt it. If the player in question didn’t feature for their national team during the break and didn’t have far to travel to Florida, then it’s more likely they would be selected.)

Orlando City: El-Munir (Libya), Tarek (Egypt), Yotun (Peru).

Sounders FC: Delem (Martinique), Lodeiro (Uruguay), Svensson (Sweden), Ruidiaz (Peru).

(as listed on mlssoccer.com at press time)

Orlando City: Yotun (accumulated bookings, but absent with Peru).
Sounders FC: none suspended. Alonso out next booking.

Gone But Not Forgotten
Paul Allen, a member of the Seattle Sounders FC ownership group, died on Monday 15 October of complications related to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Allen was the co-founder of Microsoft, owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers, and a philanthropist who donated more than $2 billion towards the advancement of science, technology, education, wildlife conservation, the arts, and community services.

We at Fog City Faithful use this time and space to recognise and respect the magnitude and impact of Mr. Allen’s legacy as we mark his passing.