Orlando City Vs Minnesota United: 3 things to watch for – The unexpected

Orlando City (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
Orlando City (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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Inter Miami, Orlando City, Nani
Inter Miami, Orlando City, Nani (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

1. Battle of the captains

The captains on both sides could square up in an interesting one vs. one on Thursday. Orlando City captain Nani typically starts wide on the left, but he drifts in front of the opposing center-backs to receive the ball in central areas of the pitch. Meanwhile, Minnesota United captain Osvaldo Alonso played as the lone defensive midfielder against San Jose.

Alonso will have to keep tabs on Nani when the Orlando man tries to float in between the lines. He is an experienced and intelligent defender. He knows how to handle his position, deal with attackers making runs off the ball, and can anchor what has been an excellent defence since his arrival at the start of the 2019 season.

It will also be interesting to see how they motivate their respective teams. With several key players potentially missing through injury, including Chris Mueller, Romain Metanire and Kevin Molino, it will be up to the players on the pitch to deal with such absences. Nani and Alonso are among the most experienced players in their teams. Can they lead under such pressure and adversity?

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There will, then, be both a mental and physical contest between Alonso and Nani. Whoever bests the other could ultimately hand their team their place in the MLS is Back final.