The Fourth of July holiday in the United States has made the sports schedules for the week screwy and this Saturday Major League Soccer fixture between Orlando City and Philadelphia is a perfect case in point. For some reason, Orlando City and Philadelphia are playing each other in back to back games. Philadelphia won 3-1 at Orlando on Wednesday and now play a rematch on Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium.
This type of ‘quick rematch’ scheduling is reasonably common in many sports MLS soccer is not one of them. Typically, the conventional wisdom in this type of ‘quick rematch’ spot is to look at the team that lost the first time around but it’s doubtful if that dynamic is as effective in soccer as in other sports. It’s also less effective when there’s a significant qualitative disparity between the teams involved and that looks to be the case here. Philadelphia is in first place in the Eastern Conference with 35 points, four clear of the second place DC United. Orlando City is in 9th place with 21 points. That is just two back from the final playoff spot but even so it’s evident that Philadelphia has been in much better form this season.
Philadelphia needed the win at Orlando as they came into that game off a lackluster performance in a 4-2 loss at New York City. Philadelphia has lost only two of their 10 games at home this year with a record of 6-2-2. They’ve only lost once in their last 9 contests at home and have had little trouble with Orlando in general winning three of the last four meetings head to head. That being said, they haven’t been particularly impressive in their last three at home going 1-1-1 scoring 5 and conceding 6.
Orlando has been up and down on the road this season and check in with a record of 3-2-4 on their travels. They do have a positive goal differential away from home scoring 10 and conceding 8. In their last three away games they are 2-0-1 scoring 5 and conceding only 1. The ‘micro’ view might look good but the ‘macro’ is far less impressive for Orlando. They’ve won only 3 of their last 23 away games. Philadelphia has handled Orlando with relative ease and simply put they’re just the better team.