Orlando City SC seek to extend their unbeaten streak to seven games against the visiting Columbus Crew on Saturday.
The Lions (9-4-8, 34 points) have two wins and four draws in their past six MLS games and have reinforcements on hand against the Crew (7-9-6, 27 points).
U.S. national team forward Daryl Dike played the second half of the scoreless draw versus Inter Miami CF on Aug. 27 for his first MLS action since July 3.
He had spent the past month recovering from a shoulder injury sustained with the U.S. during the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July. Dike, who has two goals in five matches for Orlando this season, is expected to start Saturday.
“This break, I think it was good for me,” he said. “It allowed me to regroup mentally, it allowed me to regroup physically.”
He would be a welcome addition because the Lions have scored four goals in the past five matches.
Orlando will be going for its fifth consecutive win over the Crew, who ended a six-game losing streak with a 3-2 victory over FC Cincinnati in Aug. 27.
The match featured the fifth free kick goal for Lucas Zelarayan, one shy of the single season mark of Toronto FC’s Sebastian Giovinco in 2017 (records have been kept since 2003).
Zelarayan, the 2020 MLS Cup MVP, had been underperforming but helped spark the comeback win.
“Last game, certainly, was excellent and back to being Lucas,” Crew coach Caleb Porter said. “He’s a guy that helps us with rhythm, a guy that is a big part of our chance creation, a guy that’s defending and giving us that pressure from the front and just spurring us on.”
Zelarayan has seven goals and three assists in 21 matches this season.
“It’s important to keep looking for him, to try to find him, and if we can find him, he always helps the team with good plays,” Crew midfielder Pedro Santos said.
–Field Level Media