Welcome to your open thread for tonight's match-up between Orlando City and the Philadelphia Union. It's the first of two meetings this season, with the second coming at the close of the regular season in Philly on Sunday, Oct. 25.
Philadelphia (6-13-4, 22 points) has lost three straight matches and is 2-3-1 in the last six, which actually puts them in better form than Orlando City (7-10-6, 27 points), as the Lions are1-4-1 in their last six outings. The Union currently sport the worst record in MLS and they are the only club in the league averaging less than a point per game (0.96).
The main problem for Philadelphia has been defense, as the Union have conceded a league-worst 40 goals this season. That's only three more than Orlando City, however, so...let's move on. The Union has scored 29 goals, which is three fewer than the Lions.
Both teams need three points. Philadelphia is falling out of the playoff race and must maximize results from here on out. Orlando needs to take care of business at home and pick up a few points on the road to have a shot at the postseason.
Kaká should return after sitting out Wednesday's match at Toronto. In addition, newcomers Adrian Winter and Adam Bedell have arrived and should be available for selection. Winter hasn't played a competitive match since May, so he might be on the bench but he likely won't start until he builds up some match fitness.
Carlos Rivas may be nearing a return to his groin injury, as well. However, Rafael Ramos did not train with his teammates yesterday and may still be a game or two away from returning. Defender David Mateos should arrive in the coming days.
After Wednesday's debacle, I would expect Adrian Heath to shake some things up -- both personnel-wise and perhaps in shape as well. The 4-3-3 worked well against Columbus a week ago with Kaká but did not fare nearly so well in Toronto without the captain. We may see a return to the 4-2-3-1, but will the effective Luke Boden remain at left wing?
Here's your mandatory content to prep for tonight:
- Austin Siegel's match preview and final score prediction
- This week's PawedCast previews tonight's match with special guest Eugene Rupinski from the Union blog Brotherly Game.
- The Intelligence Report also provides info on tonight's foe from Eugene.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Tally Hall
Defenders: Luke Boden, Conor Donovan, Aurelien Collin, Corey Ashe,
Defensive Midfielders: Cristian Higuita,
Attacking Midfielders: Lewis Neal, Kaká, Darwin Ceren
Forward: Cyle Larin
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Tyler Turner, Tommy Redding Carlos Rivas, Pedro Ribeiro, Adrian Winter, Bryan Rochez
Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: John McCarthy
Defenders: Fabinho, Richie Marquez, Steven Vitoria, Ray Gaddis
Defensive Midfielders: Brian Carroll,Michael Lahoud
Midfielders: Tranquillo Barnetta, Cristian Maidano, Sebastien Le Toux
Forward: C.J. Sapong
Bench: Andre Blake, Conor Casey, , Ethan White, Warren Creavalle, Eric Ayuk Mbu, Zach Pfeffer, Fernando Aristeguieta
REF: Allen Chapman
AR1: Jeff Muschik
AR2: Jose Da Silva
4TH: Daniel Fitzgerald
How to Watch:
Match time: 7:30 p.m. (ET)
Venue: Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
TV: MY65 (locally) and Sun Sports (regionally)
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 (Spanish)
Streaming: FOX Sports Go app, MLS Live
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City's official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).
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