LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena
USA Today

Galaxy's Bruce Arena on Orlando City match: 'It's going to be a tough team'

Bruce Arena is well aware of the threat his LA Galaxy side face when Orlando City comes to Carson on Sunday (7 pm ET; FS1 in the US, MLS LIVE in Canada).

The visitors are 3-2-2 under new head coach Jason Kreis, and climbed into the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot following Wednesday’s comprehensive 4-1 victory over Montreal.

“They [Orlando City] won two games in a row, so obviously he [Kreis] is starting to get results now and I would imagine things are on the upswing,” Arena told after Galaxy practice on Friday.

While Arena acknowledges the improvement under Orlando City’s new head coach, it’s the threats the Lions pose in between the lines, regardless of who is standing in the technical area, that are occupying Arena’s mind.

“I think their defensive record as of late has been much improved. So it’s going to be a tough team," he said. "Any time you have one of the leading goal scorers in the league [in Cyle Larin] and arguably one of the best players in Kaká and a great playmaker, it makes for a tough afternoon. We know it’s going to be a real battle.”

Larin missed Wednesday’s match while on International duty with Canada, but is be back with the Lions to add even more bite to an attack that has scored seven goals in its last thee games.

“He’s [Larin] a classic kind of target player, a guy in front of the goal who makes his living in the penalty area,” Arena said of last season’s Rookie of the Year. “He’s got a good sense of where to be. His team provides him with the right kind of service, so he’s a dangerous player. He can be hanging out and not be noticeable for a bit and then he pops up and gets a goal.”

So how does the Galaxy plan to stop the 21-year-old, who has already recorded 30 goals in less than two seasons?

Arena, as he often does, kept his explanation simple.

“Get near him.”