Welcome to your match thread and preview for a Saturday afternoon playoff match-up in between Orlando City and New York City FC at Exploria Stadium. This will be the 3rd conference in between the Lions (11-4-8, 41 points) and Pigeons (12-8-3, 39 points) this season (12 p.m., FOX 35 Plus (English) and UniMás/ TUDN (Spanish))– all in Orlando– and undoubtedly the very first time the groups have actually satisfied in the postseason.
The Lions are 6-5-5 in 16 meetings with NYCFC in the all-time series in MLS play and 6-5-6 including U.S. Open Cup play (keep in mind, games that go to charge shootouts in knockout competition are officially draws), so the series in between the 2 2015 growth sides has actually shown to be a competitive one, even though the groups’ total fortunes have actually been rather different. Orlando is 3-2-3 in the house in this series in MLS play and 3-2-4 in the house in all competitions.
The groups last satisfied Oct. 14 at Exploria Stadium, playing to a 1-1 draw. Chris Mueller opened the scoring but Keaton Parks adjusted just before halftime. It wasn’t Orlando City‘s best performance of the year, but the Lions were missing out on a great piece of the team: Dom Dwyer (knee), Joao Moutinho (groin), Uri Rosell (not medically cleared), Tesho Akindele (not medically cleared), Mauricio Pereyra (not medically cleared), Benji Michel (not medically cleared), Pedro Gallese (worldwide responsibility), Sebas Mendez (worldwide responsibility), Kyle Smith (not on the injury report but likewise not on the match day lineup). Orlando needs to have nearly everyone available this time out (more on that listed below).
The first conference of 2020 likewise took place in Central Florida in the MLS is Back Tournament on July 14, when Mueller’s brace and a late Tesho Akindele insurance objective led Orlando to a 3-1 win. Jesus Medina scored for NYCFC. That win snapped Orlando City‘s 0-4-3 streak in the previous 7 competitive meetings with the Pigeons. The last match in that winless streak against NYCFC was a 1-1 draw with the Lions then dispatching NYCFC from the U.S. Open Cup in a charge shootout on July 10, 2019. That night has actually been commemorated for the running of The Wall and Adam Grinwis’ heroics in objective. So, if you’re keeping track, the Lions are unbeaten in the last three meetings, although just 1-0-2 in those games.
The groups played to a 1-1 draw on April 27, 2019 at Yankee Stadium. Nani scored the opener in the 18th minute but it was canceled out by Heber in the 51st minute. A 2-2 opening day draw in 2019 snapped the Pigeons’ four-game series win streak, in which they ‘d outscored the Lions 10-0 in that period. New York City grabbed a 2-0 lead on objectives by Ebenezer Ofori and Alexander Ring, despite Orlando playing well in the video game. The Lions, as they in some cases do, roared back on objectives by Mueller and Akindele and might have had a 3rd from the area when Maxime Chanot managed the ball in the box but no charge was given.
The Lions had lost 4 straight games in the series prior to in 2015’s trio of draws. Orlando’s last success in the series prior to that came on opening day of 2017, when Cyle Larin christened the stadium now called Exploria with the only objective in a 1-0 OCSC win. Orlando was 3-1-2 in 2015 and 2016 in the first 6 meetings with NYCFC, and 4-1-2 after the opening day win in 2017. New York City has actually turned that around over the last couple of seasons to make this a a lot more even series total.
Orlando gets in the postseason on a sour note, getting rid of a 2-1 lead late against Nashville and losing 3-2, snapping a three-game winning streak and sustaining its only house loss of the year. The Lions are 6-1-3 in the house this season and won three of their last 4 matches at Exploria Stadium.
NYCFC has actually been respectable far from house, going 4-4-3 in real road games and 2-3-0 in the MLS is Back Tournament, for an overall of 6-7-3 in all matches far from Yankee Stadium. New York City FC turned its season around after a rough start. The Pigeons lost their first 4 matches of the season by a combined rating of 6-1. They completed the year as the league’s most popular team, winning their last 4 straight– a feat Orlando would have matched if it had not collapsed in the last couple of minutes against Nashville.
Try To Find New York City FC to attempt to keep the ball and build attacks, with Maxi Moralez offering one of the most threat in both the accumulation and the finish. Ring, who returned to his more comfortable central midfield function recently, is a wizard at recovering the ball and the Pigeons will look for opportunities to transition off of turnovers. Defensively, NYCFC is the 6th best team in all of MLS (connected with Orlando) yielding just 25 times in 23 games behind a strong central defense pairing of Chanot and Alex Callens and terrific goalkeeping from Sean Johnson.
“I hope that we can have the sharpness as we had in the first video game against them,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said in his press conference Thursday. “And in the 2nd one too, we had a great half. They have a great, solid back line and undoubtedly with Ring returning into his natural position things have actually altered there. It’s like any other team. The team has their weak points and their strengths and we’re attempting to control [some] and attempting to expose them in the ones we believe we can.”
The Lions have nearly everyone available. Pareja said Thursday that just Dwyer (knee) and Moutinho (groin) are out with injury, although his young left back has actually gone back to training and might be available for the next one ought to Orlando advance. Sebas Mendez was unable to charter a flight back from worldwide play due to a COVID-19 break out amongst Ecuador players during the break, so he’ll miss the match. However, Pedro Gallese did charter back from the worldwide break and is anticipated to be available. Pareja said Uri Rosell is great to go, but whether the midfielder will play or not after such a long layoff will be a choice for Pareja.
Orlando will not have to compete with forward Heber (knee surgical treatment) in this match, and New York City will likewise be missing out on midfielder Gedion Zelalem (knee) and midfielder James Sands (foot).
Mandatory Match Content
Orlando City (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.
Midfielders: Chris Mueller, Uri Rosell, Junior Urso, Mauricio Pereyra.
Forwards: Nani, Daryl Dike.
Bench: Brian Rowe, Alex De John, Kamal Miller, Rodrigo Schlegel, Joey DeZart, Andres Perea, Tesho Akindele, Matheus Aias, Benji Michel.
New York City FC (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Sean Johnson.
Protective Midfielders: Keaton Parks, Alexander Ring.
Attacking Midfielders: Gary Mackay-Steven, Maxi Moralez, Jesus Medina.
Forwards: Valentin Castellanos.
Bench: Brad Stuver, Gudmundur Thórarinsson, Sebastien Ibeagha, Joe Scally, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Tony Rocha, Juan Torres, Justin Haak, Nicolas Acevedo.
Ref: Allen Chapman.
AR1: Logan Brown.
AR2: Nick Uranga.
4th: Marcos de Oliveira.
VAR: Guido Gonzales Jr.
. AVAR: Jozef Batko.
How to Enjoy
Match Time: 12 p.m. ET.
Place: Exploria Stadium– Orlando, FL.
TELEVISION: FOX 35 Plus (local just, English), TUDN/UniMas (Spanish).
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), Accion 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).