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Scouting Report: Orlando City SC vs WFC

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Saturday's match between Orlando City SC and the Vancouver Whitecaps will be the first meeting between these two teams in MLS. To learn a little more about our next opponent we talked to Michael Citro, who is the Managing Editor of The Mane Land, to bring us up to speed on the latest news from the Citrus Bowl.

OCSC midfielder Kevin Molino (#18) in action against the Houston Dynamo last weekend.
OCSC midfielder Kevin Molino (#18) in action against the Houston Dynamo last weekend.
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

86F: Orlando City has 4 points from their first two MLS matches.  Was this expected, and what do you attribute to this promising start?

TML: I think most Orlando City fans expected a home win and might have hoped for a road draw in Houston, but certainly we felt four points were possible. The team still isn't playing together as a unit yet, so this Saturday will be the biggest test so far.

86F: What have you learned about Orlando City through the first two games?

TML: We've learned that the back line might be better than we thought, while we may not be the goal scoring threat we thought we'd be. Kaká always seems a threat and it seems Kevin Molino and Carlos Rivas are constantly on the verge of opening their goal-scoring accounts, but Brek Shea has been quiet and the offense in the final third doesn't seem to be quite clicking yet. We've learned that we can be a good possession team.

86F: Who are three Orlando City players that Vancouver Whitecaps fans should know about?

TML: Since Vancouver fans probably already know about Kaká and Brek Shea, I'll talk about three less well known players. I'll start with Kevin Molino, a USL holdover who made the jump to MLS with the club. Molino has been starting at right attacking midfield, but can play a variety of forward positions. His link-up play with Kaká has been, at times, magical. He's shown goal scoring ability in his career, breaking Dom Dwyer's single-season USL record last season, while also leading the USL in assists. Molino is a fan favorite and we expect him to open his account soon and continue providing offense all season.

Amobi Okugo is a defensive midfielder who had been playing on Philadelphia's back line much of last season. Okugo has been a very calming influence on the club and a leader on the field. Because of Orlando City's attacking style and forward-thinking fullbacks, Okugo is a vital part of breaking up counter attacks and filling in for defenders who get caught up field.

I would insert Carlos Rivas here but I'm not sure if the Colombian will be fit to play (hamstring). Instead, I'll introduce you to right back Rafael Ramos, a U-20 Portugal international who is a dynamic runner and passer. He's another player who came up with the club from USL and despite his youth and the jump in competition, he is playing with confidence and sharpness, helping shut down DaMarcus Beasley and Brad Davis last weekend in Houston.

86F: How did Kaká's equalizer against New York City FC in the season opener affect the confidence of the team?  Does this group of players have the belief they can be competitive in MLS right from the start?

TML: The goal was huge in that it rescued a point on a day when the club probably deserved all three. In terms of possession and chances, Orlando City had a big advantage over NYCFC. The Lions allowed only one shot on target -- Mix Diskerud's goal. The players do have a belief they can contend. The club motto is "defy expectations" and they have done so at every turn since 2011. That comes down from the front office and coaching staff and rubs off on new players. And Kaká's calmness and relentless drive helps reinforce that.

86F: What are the expectations for OCSC in 2015?

TML: City fans have come to expect trophies, but we know this isn't going to be an easy transition to MLS. Realistically, we are hopeful the club can make a playoff appearance in Year 1.

86F: Who will be in Adrian Heath's starting XI on Saturday and what formation is he most likely to employ?  Predicted score

TML: Not knowing what Rivas's status is makes this tricky, but I haven't heard him ruled out yet so I'll assume his availability and go with this lineup in a 4-2-3-1: Donovan Ricketts, Brek Shea, Aurelien Collin, Seb Hines, Rafael Ramos, Amobi Okugo, Darwin Ceren, Lewis Neal, Kaká, Kevin Molino, Carlos Rivas. If Rivas can't go, look for Bryan Rochez, Pedro Ribeiro or Martin Paterson (hamstring) up top.