The New York Red Bulls put themselves in a great spot for grabbing their second Supporter's Shield in three years by dispatching the Portland Timbers at home 2-0. They will now return home from their two-game road trip last week to host Orlando City for the first and only time this season. It's Week 31, so the playoff picture is beginning to take shape and teams are scrapping to get into one of the top six spots in their conference.
Orlando started the season fairly well, but have run into tough times the past few weeks. They have won their last two games, but only won once in 11 tries the weeks leading up to that. Their savior has been Bryan Rochez who returned to the lineup and scored in each of their wins against Sporting Kansas City and the Chicago Fire. Let's take a look at Orlando's other top performers this season:
Tally Hall (GK, 88 points; 5 clean sheets, 68 saves): Hall took the starting helm for OCSC back in Week 11. It hasn't been an easy ride for the team during that time. Out of the 20 games he has played in, the team has given up 2+ goals in 11 of them. RBNY should be able to find their way onto the scoreboard. Especially at home.
Aurelien Collin (DEF, 100 points; 2 goals, 1 assist, 5 clean sheets): The former SKC defenseman was picked up by Orlando in December and he has been a great addition. The team has seven other defensemen that have scored double digit fantasy points, so there hasn't been a ton of continuity on the back line. No wonder they have given up a league-high 51 goals this season.
Kaka (MID, 125 points; 9 goals, 4 assists): Kaka is poised to make a return to the lineup this week after missing the last three games with an injury. He's earned his position as Designated Player as he has the most fantasy points for Orlando this season. RBNY will have to keep their fouls in check within 25 yards from goal as Kaka is dangerous on the free kick.
Cyle Larin (FWD, 98 points; 11 goals): The MLS rookie and Canadian national striker started the season a bit slow, then scored five goals in two games against NYCFC and Columbus, but is now on a 8-game cold streak. He has gained experience with both his club and national teams, so could be in the running for Rookie of the Year.
The Red Bulls will host Orlando on Friday night in front of a hungry Red Bull Arena crowd. Let's hope RBNY keeps pace and stays on track for the Shield.