Orlando City match preview: Lions prepare for ABFC

Orlando City SC will be traveling to North Sound, Antigua to face-off with Antigua Barracuda FC in a pair of matches on Friday and Sunday, at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Orlando is coming off of a nail-biting 3-2 win over the Pittsburg Riverhounds, where both teams combined for four goals in the final 11 minutes of the match, while Antigua just experienced a 4-0 thrashing by the Charleston Battery.

Orlando, who is undefeated with one draw, is clearly the better team on paper, as Antigua is 2-4; but has the USL’s leading scorer in Forward Stefan Smith. Although playing an outmatched opponent, coach Adrian Heath says it will be business as usual.

“The results last year didn’t really reflect the problems and the difficulty of the game they gave people. They are big, strong, and athletic and we will approach the game properly certainly the Friday game we will be doing everything as usually same starting lineup,” said Heath.

Although that starting lineup could be without a key defensive player, Rob Valentino, who is recovering from a hamstring injury and could be held out as a precaution.

Coach Heath has also been preaching about the “final third” all this week and his players plan on executing in those situations where they are in the opposing team’s final third of the field.

“We have been working on the final third this whole week and it’s not only the forwards finishing, but connecting our passes and when getting the right opportunities going to goal,” said forward Max Griffin.

Orlando players could use this as a tune up game. Last year’s leading scorer, Griffin, has yet to find the back of the net this year, and is looking to get out of his slump.

“Some years it takes a while to get going, but I hope that once I get that first goal the rest will keeping rolling after that. I’m just focused on getting that first one,” said Griffin.