Of the 24 matches Orlando City has played in its Major League Soccer history, 11 of them have been broadcast on national television – four on ESPN2, four on Fox Sports 1, and three more on UniMás. Sunday evening's pivotal away match against the Seattle Sounders will be another national showcase for the Lions, as the showdown at CenturyLink Field will be a 5 p.m. kick on ESPN2 in the first leg of MLS's 'Soccer Sunday' lineup.
We have already looked at Orlando City's good fortunes against Western Conference competition this week, and now we take a gander at the Lions' results in nationally televised contests ahead of a match that holds big playoff implications for both sides.
Overall, the Lions hold a 4-4-3 record in nationally televised matches this season. Orlando has taken 15 points out of a possible 33 from these games, scoring 16 goals while conceding 14. Seven of these matches have taken place in the designated Soccer Sunday time slots, with three on Friday nights and the odd Wednesday match thrown in on May 13 at D.C. United.
Orlando has played six of these games at home and five away in these national broadcasts thus far. Of the six home contests, OCSC has secured eight points out of a possible 18 (2-2-2) versus seven points out of 15 possible (2-2-1) in nationally televised road games. Interestingly, one of Orlando City's two road wins in these cases came in the toughest road environment they've faced this year at Portland's Providence Park. That environment is the most comparable to what we'll see Sunday at a raucous CenturyLink.
The Lions hold a better record on ESPN2 (2-1-1), where they'll be playing Sunday, than they do on UniMás (1-1-1) or FS1 (1-2-1), leading one to believe that Taylor Twellman could, in some weird way, give Orlando the edge in this contest.
Orlando's national broadcast results so far look like this:
March 8, 2015: 1-1 draw vs. New York City FC in inaugural MLS match (ESPN2)
March 13, 2015: 1-0 win at Houston (UniMás)
April 3, 2015: 0-1 loss vs. D.C. United (UniMás)
April 12, 2015: 2-0 win at Portland Timbers (ESPN2)
April 26, 2015: 0-2 loss vs. Toronto FC (FS1)
May 8, 2015: 2-2 draw vs. New England Revolution (UniMás)
May 13, 2015 (Wed.): 1-2 loss at D.C. United (ESPN2)
May 17, 2015: 4-0 blowout win vs. LA Galaxy (ESPN2)
May 24, 2015: 1-1 draw at San Jose (FS1)
June 14, 2015: 1-0 win vs. D.C. United (FS1)
July 26, 2015: 3-5 loss at NYCFC (FS1)
Now, of course, the play of the two squads will determine the outcome of Sunday's match, not the fact that it's on national television. The health of Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey is more critical than a 5 p.m. kick, and the form of a newly healthy Carlos Rivas and newcomer Adrian Winter is more important than the game being shown on ESPN2.
But playing on the national stage is a good opportunity for the Lions to make an impression on an audience that doesn't get to watch them often, and has also not seen much of them since the early season when OCSC played nine national games in the first two and a half months of the season before making just two appearances in the last two months.
Will Orlando scintillate as they did in the runaway win against LA, or will they put on the wrong kind of show as they did when allowing five at Yankee Stadium? Or will we see the teams split the points with a draw?