Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Orlando City vs Stoke City Club Friendly Match Preview And Prediction - July 28, 2016

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Orlando City are making space for Stoke City amidst their MLS schedule between last Sunday’s 2-2 draw away to Colombus Crew and next weekend’s match at home to New England. An extra mid-week fixture is unlikely to help their poor current form – Orlando City are without a win in 6 MLS matches (D3 L3) and have failed to score in 50% of these matches. Their disappointing and unlikely exit from the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in the round of 16 against second tier side Fort Lauderdale Stikers is only compounded by their average position in the Eastern Conference. Orlando City have slipped out of the final series play-off zone (top 6) thanks to this poor run of results and they now trail 6th placed New England and qualification by 3 points.

Stoke City have, likewise, also been struggling for form and been equally unimpresive recently. Stoke were defeated 3-0 by League Two side Burton Albion and only managed to take a 1-1 draw away from Preston North End last Saturday, despite playing almost a full first team. While fitness levels will be the main concern for Mark Hughes, with Jack Butland and Ryan Shawcross both returning from injury, not much progression has been made since Stoke’s disappointing end to their 2015/2016 Premier League campaign.

Mark Hughes has taken six young prospects out with him to Florida in a 28-man party. Daniel Gyollai, Eddy Lecygne, Julien N’Goy, Ollie Shenton, Joel Taylor and George Waring travelled out yesterday, which could mean that some academy players will be given the opportunity to gain experience in a different football culture. Stoke are likely to play a mix of experience and youth for this match as they will want to see their new signings, Ramadan Sobhi and Joe Allen, in action. Meanwhile, nobody would blame Orlando City for taking a similar approach with the crucial closing stages of their MLS season ahead. Taking into account both sides poor general and also goalscoring forms, we feel that Stoke City stronger squad depth will be enough to leave them on the right side of a low scoring outcome here – similar to their previous 2012 encounter, where they won 1-0.

Combining this analysis with the statistics below, we expect under 2.5 goals at 11/10 to be a safe bet with Stoke City to win 1-0 at 13/2 with bet365 to be a top value correct score bet for this match.

Orlando City and Stoke City have met just one time previously, where Stoke City won 1-0 in a preseason club friendly in 2012.

Orlando City have not won in 6 MLS fixtures (D3 L3) and have failed to score in 3 of their last 5 matches. Stoke City have scored just 1 goal in their 2 club friendly fixtures so far this summer.

Orlando City are doubtful over Kaka for this match, who has been struggling with a groin strain. Defenders Rafael Ramos and Tommy Redding are both out with hamstring injuries. Joining them on the sidelines are midfielder Harrison Heath and striker Pedro Ribeiro.

Stoke City made their first signing of the summer, paying £5m for highly-rated 19 year old Egyptian winger Ramadan Sobhi from Egyptian title holders Al Ahly. He is expected to receive his UK visa over the next 48 hours and likely to join his new team-mates in the US. Also signed for Stoke is Joe Allen from Liverpool, who played 132 matches and scored 7 goals over his time at the Reds.

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