Welcome to your Orlando City SC open thread, as the Lions get set to take on the New York Red Bulls tonight at the Citrus Bowl at 7:30 p.m. City will be without left back Luke Boden, who is serving a suspension for picking up two yellow cards late in last week's 2-0 loss to FC Dallas. In his place will be newly acquired Corey Ashe, a midweek pick-up from the Houston Dynamo.
Boden isn't the only loss for Orlando (6-7-6, 24 points), which also lost Sean St. Ledger to a shoulder injury in the first half of last week's game and midfielder Harrison Heath to a knee issue on Wednesday. The good news is that Aurelien Collin replaced Ledge in the lineup and played very well last week. Collin also got a half in against West Brom in the midweek friendly.
City welcomes back defensive mid Darwin Ceren and striker Cyle Larin from Gold Cup duty. Both should be available to start tonight's match. Captain Kaká returns after his one-week red card ban and his spectacular form continued as he scored at the end of a 45-yard dribble in Wednesday's friendly, giving the Brazilian goals in four straight matches in all competitions. Bryan Rochez played a full 90 on Wednesday, so the Honduran striker should be fit for a spot in the 18. Central defender Conor Donovan also returned from a broken elbow.
Cristian Higuita is one yellow card from suspension. If he can stay out of the referee's book for two more matches, he can have one of his four rescinded. The bad news is tonight's referee averages the third most yellow cards issued per match in MLS this season.
New York (7-6-5, 26 points) sits just two points ahead of Orlando entering play tonight. The Red Bulls are enjoying a good run of form, having eviscerated New England Revolution 4-1 last weekend at Red Bull Arena. New York has won three of its last four MLS matches.
Bradley Wright-Phillips paces the Red Bulls with eight goals on the season, with Lloyd Sam just behind at five. Mike Grella has four. The New York attack can be lethal, so there will be a lot of pressure on Orlando City's back line and defensive midfield.
While Orlando has gotten its Gold Cup players back, New York will be without defenders Roy Miller (Costa Rica) and Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica).
Here's your mandatory content for tonight's game:
- Andrew Marcinko's match preview and prediction
- This week's PawedCast, with guest Jason Iapicco from Once a Metro.
- My Intelligence Report with Jason's answers to some of our burning questions.
- Scott Crumbly's look at new left back Cory Ashe who should make his City debut tonight.
- Austin David's Three Keys to the Game
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Tally Hall
Defenders: Corey Ashe, Sean St. Ledger, Aurelien Collin, Rafael Ramos
Defensive Midfielders: Darwin Ceren, Cristian Higuita
Attacking Midfielders: Carlos Rivas, Kaká, Lewis Neal
Forward: Cyle Larin
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Seb Hines, Tyler Turner, Amobi Okugo, Eric Avila, Pedro Ribeiro, Bryan Rochez
New York Red Bulls (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Luis Robles
Defenders: Connor Lade, Matt Miazga, Damien Perrinelle, Anthony Wallace
Defensive Midfielders: Felipe Martins, Dax McCarty
Attacking Midfielders: Mike Grella, Sacha Kljestan, Lloyd Sam
Forward: Bradley Wright-Phillips
Bench: Kyle Reynish, Shawn McLaws, Sal Zizzo, Karl Ouimette, Manolo Sanchez, Anatole Bertrand Abang, Sean Davis
REF: Fotis Bazakos
AR1: Brian Poeschel
AR2: Kyle Longville
4TH: Ted Unkel
How to Watch:
Match time: 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
TV: My 65 locally and Sun Sports regionally
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 (Spanish)
Streaming: MLS Live
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