FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Statistics and records can be deceptive. Case in point: Orlando City SC.
Through four home games the expansion side’s record at the Citrus Bowl is a disappointing 0-3-1 with just a single goal scored – a deflected Kaka free kick in the club’s inaugural match back on March 8.
But those baseline numbers disguise the fact that Adrian Heath’s side has looked incredibly dangerous at times, particularly at home, where they’ve averaged 13.5 shots per game and have often only been denied by wayward finishing or spectacular goalkeeping performances.
“They haven’t gotten the results they probably want so far, but they’ve given a lot of teams really tough games,” said Chris Tierney. “I think they probably could’ve pulled more points out than they have.”
Leading the line, of course, is former FIFA World Player of the Year Kaka, who has scored three of Orlando City’s five goals this season while operating in a variety of different positions for the Lions.
“We’ve seen Kaka wide left and we’ve seen Kaka underneath the striker, so I think Kaka’s got a really free role,” said Jay Heaps. “He’s the centerpiece and then the other ones play off of him really well.
“You have to prepare more or less for them and not just the players, but how they play off of each other. But I think coach Heath has done an awesome job down there and they’re dangerous as heck.”
Dangerous as Orlando City may be, they’ll still be searching for a first-ever home win when the New England Revolution visit on Friday night (8 p.m. ET on Univision Deportes). And that’s significant.
The Revs know exactly what it’s like facing a team hungry for a first win in front of its home fans; they did so just two months ago when they visited New York City FC in the inaugural match at Yankee Stadium.
Although the Revs lost that game, they were able to take some lessons from the experience, and Tierney believes the mounting pressure on OCSC may ultimately prove beneficial for the visitors.
“It’ll be a similar-type atmosphere (as the NYCFC game), but at the same time, I think it plays to our advantage,” he said. “Those teams feel an immense amount of pressure to perform, especially when things haven’t necessarily gone as well as they would’ve liked.
“Hopefully they’ll feel the pressure of their home fans expecting a win and they might throw numbers forward. They might leave some gaps that we’re fairly confident that we’ll be able to expose.”
What the Revs know is that they’ll be facing a highly-motivated side on Friday night; one which will be looking to satisfy another raucous crowd which has thus far been denied many opportunities to cheer.
“It’s extremely important for them and we know they’re going to give us everything they’ve got,” said Charlie Davies. “We’ve just got to be prepared as usual and do our due diligence throughout the week, and just make sure we’re fully prepared for the match.”