Orlando City vs. Los Angeles FC Pick 7/31/20
Orlando City (Group A winner) vs. Los Angeles FC (Group F runner-up)
When: Friday, July 31, 7:30 p.m.
Where: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Bay Lake, Fla.
Point Spread: Orlando +0.5/LAFC -0.5
Moneyline: Orlando +300/LAFC -134/Draw +333
Total: Over 3.5 (+110)/Under 3.5 (-154)
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Last Time Out:
Orlando edged Montreal 1-0; LAFC routed Seattle 4-1.
The teams drew 2-2 on September 7, 2019, at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
About the Matchup:
One of these teams was expected to be here, while the other was one of the tournament’s surprises. Orlando has gotten the benefit of being the de facto hosts and has shown a surprising amount of life for a team that has never once qualified for the playoffs, while LAFC has been hitting on all cylinders since the first half of its opening match and has looked every bit capable of becoming the MLS champions.
So that gives us a quarterfinal between a team that’s playing with nothing to lose and a team that’s coming off a rather convincing win over the team that ended its season a year ago. The question is, after dispatching Seattle so easily, does LAFC still have the motivation needed to deal with a hungry Orlando side that’s growing in confidence every match?
Scouting Orlando City:
At this point, all that matters is the result, and Orlando simply waited for its moment and counterattacked beautifully to get its lone goal in the win over Montreal. Now the Lions are up against their toughest test by a mile, as they meet an LAFC team capable of taking any side apart when it wants to and can boss the possession.
To get a result here, Oscar Pareja’s men are going to have to rely on the counter again and hit LAFC at the right time. Chris Mueller and Nani have proven to be an outstanding pairing in the attack, and they’re going to have to be patient against a side that will likely hold the ball for as long as possible. They’re also going to have to make sure that the defense can hold up for as long as possible. LAFC’s biggest strength is its ability to bury teams quickly, and in a match like this, the Black and Gold can punish any opening the Lions offer.
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If this match gets decided on talent alone, LAFC is the easy pick here. The Black and Gold have proven that they don’t even need Carlos Vela in order to be the best team in MLS, as Diego Rossi has been more than capable of carrying the scoring load without Vela. When a team can lose the MVP and not miss a beat, that’s a truly frightening thought.
But in this matchup, there’s a real question of motivation. LAFC has looked scary good against the L.A. Galaxy, their biggest rival, and Seattle, the team that ended their season in the Western Conference Final a year ago. But against Houston and Portland, two teams that LAFC doesn’t have any real history with, the Black and Gold looked mortal, ending up with a pair of draws. Against Houston, LAFC spotted the Dynamo a two-goal lead before evening the score, and against Portland, the Timbers found an equalizer and ended up topping the group. With little to play for here because they’ll almost certainly earn a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League anyway, how motivated will LAFC be?
Dan’s Best Bets:
It’s tough to make a bet against LAFC with how well they’ve played at times in this tournament, but with a lack of motivation showing up periodically and this tournament meaning the world to Orlando City, I’d take a hard look at Orlando on a double chance at +105. Orlando has managed to scratch out a draw on LAFC’s only previous visit to Orange County, and I can see the Lions keeping this thing close and getting the match to go to penalties.
For this reason, I’d also take a gamble on the under. I expect Orlando to mostly park the bus and wait for its one opportunity to present itself, and that means a team that’s focused almost entirely on defense. With the under at 3.5 in this match, I think there’s a good chance that you come in safely under it.
Finally, if you’re looking for a goal scorer, I’d take a chance on Chris Mueller. He’s been Orlando’s most important player in this tournament, and he’s getting +188 to put a goal home. You could do a lot worse in this bet.
Dan’s Score Prediction:
If LAFC is motivated, this pick will be very wrong. But I think LAFC will sleepwalk through this match and end up winning it in penalty kicks. Orlando has had a great run in this tournament and can get it to a coin flip, but I think that’s as far as the Lions get. I’ll take this match to finish 1-1 for a payment of +825. If you’re going to bet on games, why not do it at the cheapest prices? Today is a good day to consider dumping your overpriced bookie and make the switch to reduced juice betting at 5Dimes Sportsbook. You will be SO glad you made the switch! Huge savings + way more wager offerings!