Mon, 26 Jul 2021

Orlando City, Union getting healthier ahead of showdown

Field Level Media
22 Jul 2021, 06:40 GMT+10

Orlando City looks to snap a modest three-match winless run on Thursday night at home against the Philadelphia Union, who haven't won in their last four road games.

Like many teams in MLS, Orlando (6-3-4, 22 points) is continuing to manage some roster absences due to the CONCACAF Gold Cup, namely American striker Daryl Dike.

But the Lions are getting healthier otherwise. Former Brazil national team forward Alexandre Pato has been upgraded to questionable following a knee injury he suffered on opening weekend back in April. Center back Antonio Carlos could also return after missing a pair of games.

Perhaps more encouraging for manager Oscar Pareja is his belief that midfielder Mauricio Pereyra appears close to rediscovering his 2020 form. The Uruguayan has only a goal and three assists this season, though Pareja thinks more is coming after his performance in a 1-1 draw on the road in Toronto this weekend.

"Today, I saw him actually more clear with the ball," Pareja told the Orlando Sentinel. "The actions that he got on the ball just shows the character that he brings to the team. I know Mauricio is going to keep finding his best out there soon because we need him, and he knows that."

The Union (6-3-5, 23 points) have had their own recent minor issues away from home, settling for draws in three of their last four away matches and losing a tight one at Nashville SC.

But manager Jim Curtin's team visits Orlando after a 2-1 home win against D.C. United on Saturday with most of his talented midfield available for selection for the first time in a while.

Ilsinho (groin) and Anthony Fontana (concussion protocol) are unlikely to start and remain questionable on the team's injury report. But with Alejandro Bedoya, Daniel Gazdag, Leon Flach, Jamiro Monteiro and Jose Martinez all fully fit, Curtin has what coaches call a good problem.

"Someone will be the odd man out, and it won't be based on performance," Curtin said. "It's been a while since we had them all available to choose from. It will allow us to have some rotation when we have these busy stretches."

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--Field Level Media

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