Thursday night brings the second semifinal at the Wide World of Sports Complex as Orlando City faces Minnesota United in the MLS is Back Tournament. Orlando City enters this game as the favorites at +143 to Minnesota’s +167, but at the start of the tournament, it was United +1200 to win the tournament with the Lions as a +5000 longshot. Orlando clipped the script while winning Group A and upsetting tournament favorites LAFC while Minnesota finished second in Group D.
There isn’t much history between these teams with just three total matchups since Minnesota United joined MLS in 2017. United won at home 1-0 in 2017 and won in Orlando a year later. The teams tied 1-1 last year in Minnesota with Nani scoring for Orlando City.
Orlando City SC Outlook: Ride the Wave
Orlando City hasn’t dominated on their way to the semifinals, but they have played smart and scored timely goals. The quarterfinal matchup against highly favored LAFC was exactly to this script as the Lions avoided mistakes and tied the game 1-1 when Joan Moutinho scored in the 90th minute went 5-for-5 in a penalty shootout Friday night to beat tournament favorites LAFC with captain Nani scoring the winning goal.
Orlando City also got a very late winner from Nani in the tournament’s first game as they beat Inter Miami FC 2-1. They had their best game of the tournament in a 3-1 win over NYCFC as Christopher Mueller scored twice and then clinched Group A with a 1-1 draw against Philadelphia. In the Round of 16, they beat Montreal Impact 1-0 on a 60th-minute goal from Tesho Akindele.
Mueller leads the Lions with three goals in the tournament while Akindele has two Goalie Pedro Gallese has 15 saves in the five games, and he also led Orlando City to the penalty shootout win over powerful LAFC.
Minnesota United FC Outlook: Attack For 90
The Loons were favored to win Group D before Ike Opara, the 2019 MLS Defender of the Year, announced he would miss the tournament with a pre-existing condition. Minnesota scrambled to replace him at first, but Jose Aja has settled into that spot, and as a result, the Loons have improved as the tournament has progressed. That progress culminated in a 4-1 thumping of a powerful San Jose Earthquakes squad in Saturday’s quarterfinal.
In group play, Minnesota needed an own goal and a 97th-minute winner from Kevin Molina to beat Sporting KC 2-1 before they drew 0-0 with Real Salt Lake and 2-2 with Colorado Rapids. They were big underdogs against unbeaten Columbus Crew in the Round of 16, but Robin Lod scored early, and the Loons prevailed in penalty kicks. Keeper Tyler Miller made a save in the shootout before Chase Gasper delivered the winning kick to send Minnesota United to the quarterfinals.
Lod and Ethan Finlay both have two goals in the tournament, while five individuals have one goal each. Miller has 13 saves in the five games, and even without Opara, Minnesota has allowed just five goals in Orlando.
Orlando City SC/Minnesota United FC Betting Lines
Orlando City SC +143 to win
Minnesota United FC +167 to win
Over/Under 2.5 goals (O -113, U -116)
These teams have both played great defense and had timely goals in this tournament. Overall, Minnesota has the better fire-power, but this game could come down to a fun chess match between the two coaches, Oscar Pareja of Orlando and Adrian Heath of Minnesota.
FREE PICK: Minnesota United to win (+167)