The 2015 season has been a banner year for MLS expansion clubs. Both Orlando City and New York City FC have set standards in numerous categories for other expansion clubs, like Minnesota United, LAFC and Atlanta United, to follow. With the two teams set to square off this Friday in Orlando, I decided to take a comparative look at both clubs and see how they measured up.
First off, we'll compare win-loss records for both teams. Orlando is currently four points ahead of NYCFC, having 41 total points compared to NYCFC's 37. Orlando's overall record is 11-13-8 with a 6-5-5 home record and a 5-8-3 away record. NYCFC currently has a 10-15-7 record with a 6-6-4 home record and a 4-9-3 away record. This gives Orlando the lead in overall wins, better home and better away records.
Next up, we'll compare goals and assists. NYCFC leads in both of these categories, having 47 goals and 45 assists, while Orlando City has scored 44 goals and tallied 37 assists. In terms of the top three goal scorers, NYC has the edge. Topping the score sheet for NYCFC is their Designated Player David Villa, who has scored 17. Patrick Mullins is in second, with six, and Thomas McNamara rounds out the top three with five goals. Villa also has eight assists, while Mullins has four and McNamara has three.
In comparison, the numbers are a bit more skewed for Orlando. Rookie sensation Cyle Larin leads all Lions with 15 goals, Orlando's captain Kaká is second on the list, with nine, and Young Designated Player Bryan Róchez has three goals, all within the last month. Kaká has seven assists, which leads the team, and is the only player out of the top three scorers for Orlando that has actually recorded an assist this season.
Now, in terms of team statistics, NYCFC leads in both shots and shots on goal, with 416 total shots taken and 151 of them on target, making it a 36% shot accuracy rate for the team. Meanwhile, Orlando City has managed 358 total shots, with 116 of those on target. That works out to a 32% shot accuracy rate on the season for the Lions.
There are two stats that Orlando leads in, however. The Lions are sixth in the league in fouls committed with 432, while NYCFC has committed the seventh-most with 429. The next stat is the big difference between the teams, as the Lions lead the entire league in fouls suffered, with 453, while NYCFC is 10th on the list with 417 fouls suffered.
The final on-field stat comparison is the number of penalty kicks each team has received. NYCFC leads the league in penalty kick goals, with seven converted out of eight attempted, while Orlando has converted four out of six, good for 13th in the league. The only big stat left to compare is the one off the field.
Both teams have done very well for themselves in terms of filling the stands in their inaugural MLS seasons. NYCFC has had a total of 459,208 people attend their games this season, with one game still to go. This averages out to about 28,700 people per game at Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, down in Orlando, the Lions have broken many attendance records for an expansion club. Also with one game to go at home, Orlando has had more than half a million people attend a game this season, with 515,076 total people coming through the Citrus Bowl turnstiles. Having played 16 league games, the Lions have averaged 32,192 people per game, which is second in attendance in MLS this season.
With NYCFC leading in scoring and shooting statistics and Orlando leading in wins and attendance, Friday's match-up between the two teams will be even more tantalizing with the title of "best expansion team" on the line. The Lions can clinch that with a draw or a win. Plus, there's that whole playoff thing for Orlando that could happen. So, that's kind of important.