Orlando City look to continue their underdog run in the MLS is Back Tournament against LAFC on Friday night. Here are three things to watch for.
It has been an unlikely run of success for Orlando City in the MLS is Back Tournament. They topped Group A to advance to the knockout round and have now found themselves in the quarterfinals. For a club that has yet to qualify for the playoffs in their Major League Soccer history it has been a very impressive run of form.
Now, though, they face the toughest test of their campaign thus far. Los Angeles FC are the dominant team in MLS and are on the verge of winning the entire competition if they can continue to progress as they have done so far. Out of the clubs remaining in the tournament, they are the clear favorites after a dominant performance against the reigning MLS Cup champions.
And so, as the resident underdogs look to upset the odds once again, here are three things to watch for.
3. Will LAFC persevere under pressure?
LAFC are heavily favored to win. As mentioned, they are the favorites to win this tournament and achieve yet another accomplishment in MLS. If they perform at their best, there are few teams who can keep scoring pace with them. They have notched15 goals in their four tournament matches.
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And yet, despite the relative ease with they have been able to score with, they have to be careful to not overlook Orlando, however. The Florida club has looked revitalized under Oscar Pareja and they are trending upwards, turning into a consistently competitive club in MLS.
It’s happened to LAFC before in the U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup. They have floundered under the pressure and failed to capitalize on their favorite status. As they get later into the rounds of this tournament the question, can they win when the pressure is on?