Last week I incorrectly picked Minnesota United to beat the LA Galaxy 1-0 using Football Manager 17. Sure, I got the scoreline and winning team wrong, but it was a one goal game. So, I’m going to continue using this sophisticated method of simulation. This week Minnesota is hosting Orlando City on Pride Night. Oh, and Pride Night isn’t a play on Orlando City’s “Lions” nickname; it’s the easiest way to piss off heterosexual people who don’t appreciate the inclusion that they automatically feel from the moment they wake up to when they fall asleep in their recliners reading Killing Patton for the third time. But I digress.
My starting lineup against Orlando was largely the same as the one that beat the Galaxy when I trotted them out last week. Alex Ferrell between the sticks; Justin Davis, Francisco Calvo, Thomas De Villardi, and Kevin Venegas as the back line; Rasmus Schuller and Collen Warner as my defensive mids; Kevin Molino, Johan Venegas, and Miguel Ibarra for my attacking mids; and Christian “Not Ready for MLS” Ramirez up top.
“Why De Villardi?” you might ask. Brent Kallman was loaned out, and I didn’t want to risk Jelle van Damme getting upset about playing on turf again. Boy, oh boy, was that the wrong choice. Looking at the halftime stats without seeing the scoreline, you’d think that it was maybe a goalless draw at the half. The Loons actually had the majority of possession but couldn’t get any shots off. The opposite was true for Orlando. They took eight shots with three going on target. And by “on target,” I mean “in the back of the net with such ease, I thought I had accidentally put Ramirez in the goalkeeper slot.” It was 3-0 after 45 minutes.
The first goal came as a result of a 30-or-so-yard free kick by Will Johnson in the 17th minute. Ferrell went the wrong way and couldn’t recover in time to stop the ball from bouncing into the net.
The Minnesota players must have been distracted by all the front-office-sanctioned happy couples in the stands shoving their lifestyles into everyone’s faces, because Johnson had a free kick in basically the same spot in the 29th minute. The ball went to the corner and was crossed into the box. It bounced off of Kaka’s body and to Pierre da Silva who slotted it home.
Minnesota had a chance to get one back when Ramirez launched a ball from the left goal line to the right of the net, finding Molino’s head at the top of the box. His header went over the net, and the Loons didn’t seem to touch the ball for the rest of the half. Ten minutes after the second Orlando goal, they struck again. Orlando moved the ball down the field as easily as a cakemaker refusing perfectly good money because the cake would be eaten by two grooms. Then the ball fell to Matias Perez Garcia, who found Bryan Rochez in the box at roughly the same spot you might expect to find a centerback. No such luck for the hosts though. Rochez had absolutely no work to do as he fired past Ferrell.
Perhaps Orlando was feeling bad for United’s players and took it easy on them in the second half. Or maybe it was the fact that the master tactician writing this piece forgot to give the team instructions at the beginning of the match. Or, was I simulating Adrian not being on the sideline this Saturday? I’ll go with that one. Either way, the second half was much more even and boring.
The Loons looked much better after the break, controlling possession for long stretches and stringing more than three passes together. Ramirez was even getting service in the box on a few different occasions. The closest chance came around the 65th minute when a Ibarra ripped a corner into the box, glancing off the head of Molino and just over the crossbar. Orlando rode out the rest of the game without much incident and took all three points.
So, if you’re going to see your bookie soon, bet the rent on Orlando to win by three and take the over on how many white dudes in cargo shorts will come charging into the comments section on any Pride Night post that Minnesota United puts out over the next week.