The second semifinal in the MLS is Back Tournament is set for Thursday night as Orlando City SC takes on Minnesota United FC. Orlando is favored in this game at +143 to Minnesota’s +162 despite entering the tournament as a massive +5000 longshot to win it all. Minnesota meanwhile was favored to win Group D, which they did not, and started the tournament at +1200 to win it all.
These teams have met three times since Minnesota United entered MLS in 2017 and Orlando City have never won. United won at home 1-0 in 2017 and on the road 2-1 in 2018 as Ethan Finlay scored twice. Nani put Orlando City on top last year but Abu Danladi, now on Nashville SC, earned Minnesota a 1-1 draw in the 90th minute.
Orlando City SC Outlook: Home Cooking
Orlando City is playing in their hometown but at definitely the Cinderella team still in the tournament after entering at +5000 to win it all. They have played themselves into a favorite role in the semifinals thanks to some timely goals and solid defense. The Lions went 5-for-5 in a penalty shootout Friday night to beat tournament favorites LAFC with captain Nani scoring the winning goal.
Orlando City won Group A with a 2-1 win over Inter Miami FC, a 3-1 win over NYCFC and a 1-1 draw against Philadelphia. Before beating LAFC in the quarterfinals they dispatched Montreal 1-0 in the round of 16. Christopher Mueller has three goals in the tournament while Tesho Akindele has two goals.
Orlando City has a flair for the dramatic with Nani scoring in added time to beat Inter Miami and Joao Moutinho scoring in the 90th minute to send the quarterfinal to penalty kicks. Goalie Pedro Gallese has 15 saves in the tournament and came up big in the shootout against LAFC to set the stage for Nani’s winner.
Minnesota United FC Outlook: Be the Underdog
Coach Adrian Heath and the Loons relish the underdog role as they upset Columbus Crew and San Jose Earthquakes so far in the knockout round. The offense was slow to start in the tournament but exploded in Saturday’s 4-1 quarterfinal win over San Jose. Robin Lod, Jacori Hayes, Luis Amarilla and Marlon Harrison all scored in the win.
The Group D favorite finished second in the group with a 0-0 draw against Real Salt Lake, a 2-2 draw against Colorado Rapids and a 97th minute winner from Kevin Molino in the group opener against Sporting KC. They had to go to penalties to beat Columbus after a 1-1 draw and keeper Tyler Miller made a save before Chase Gasper delivered the winning kick.
Finlay and Lod have two goals each in the tournament while five players have one goal each and MUNFC benefitted from an own goal against Sporting KC. Miller has 13 saves in the five games and the Loons have allowed just five goals despite playing without defensive star Ike Opara.
Orlando City SC/Minnesota United FC Betting Lines By Realbookies.com
Orlando City SC +142 to win
Minnesota United FC +167 to win
Over/Under 2.5 goals (O -113, U -116)
Both defenses have played great in the tournament and the offenses have taken advantage of opposing mistakes to grab late goals. Neither team will back down and the tactics from managers Health and Oscar Pareja will go a long way in determining which team plays for the MLS is Back Championship. Neither team has won a major trophy and don’t be surprised if this one heads to penalty kicks.
FREE PICK by Payperhead247: Under 2.5 goals (-116)
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