Welcome to your open thread for today's match-up between Orlando City and Real Salt Lake (I've been waiting forever to type that line!). It's the lone meeting of the season, and only the second time the two clubs have met as MLS foes. You may recall the Lions drew 1-1 last year on the road down to 10 men after Kaká was sent off at the end of the first half. Today's game will be played in front of a raucous sellout crowd (or close to it) and the Citrus Bowl will be lit.
Real Salt Lake has already played two competitive matches this season, but won neither, as they bowed out of the CONCACAF Champions League knockout round to Tigres UNAL by a 3-1 aggregate. RSL lost the road opener 2-0 and drew 1-1 at home, where they were more competitive and could have had a better result if not for missing a penalty and hitting the crossbar.
Orlando City is coming off a 4-1-0 preseason, beating Esporte Clube Bahia 6-1 last weekend in the Citrus Bowl on the strength of a tour-de-force performance by center back Seb Hines. The English-American scored four goals with his head off set pieces, all of which were crossed in by a resurgent Kaká. The team has drilled set pieces hard in preseason, trying to augment an offense that sometimes generates a lot of chances but fails to finish them, as Cyle Larin did three times last Saturday.
Midfielder Carlos Rivas (ankle), thought to be out for today, returned to training ahead of schedule and should be available for selection. Adrian Heath said yesterday that Rivas would be a game-day decision. The news is not so good for center back David Mateos (hamstring), who is expected to miss from two to four weeks. That pushes 19-year-old Tommy Redding into the starting lineup next to Hines. Heath confirmed Redding would start.
Tommy Redding will play (today)," Heath said after Saturday's training session. "We just think he's very, very good on the ball. He's an important piece for us coming out of the back. The way they line up, we thought it would be ideal for Tommy to be on the ball and I've got no qualms about putting him in. I don't go along with the age group. If they're good enough, they're old enough. They can play. Tommy can play. He's a very good player and it's going to be a good opportunity for him."
Italian midfielder Antonio Nocerino arrived in Orlando on Friday but was ruled out by Heath since he had yet to even take his medical by the end of Friday's training session. Provided his fitness is as good as expected, Nocerino could play Friday against Chicago.
Here's your mandatory content to prep for today's game:
- Austin Siegel's match preview and final score prediction.
- Brent Petkus has your RSL scouting report.
- This week's PawedCast previews the match with more staff predictions and an exclusive interview with Orlando City defender Kevin Alston.
- The Intelligence Report also provides info on tonight's foe from RSL Soapbox's Matt Montgomery.
- Wade Williams has Orlando City's three goals for today's game.
Orlando City (4-3-2-1)
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik
Defenders: Luke Boden, Seb Hines, Tommy Redding, Rafael Ramos
Defensive Midfielders: Pedro Ribeiro, Servando Carrasco, Darwin Ceren
Attacking Midfielders: Brek Shea, Kevin Molino
Forward: Cyle Larin
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Kevin Alston, Aurelien Collin, Harrison Heath, Richie Laryea, Adrian Winter, Hadji Barry.
Real Salt Lake (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando
Defenders: Tony Beltran, Aaron Maund, Jamison Olave, Demar Phillips
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Sunny Obayan
Forwards: Joao Plata, Yura Movsisyan, Juan Manuel Martinez
Bench: Jeff Attinella, Justen Glad, Chris Wingert, Luke Mulholland, Jordan Allen, Olmes Garcia, Devon Sandoval.
REF: Chris Penso
AR1: CJ Morgante
AR2: Kevin Klinger
4TH: Robert Sibiga
How to Watch:
Match time: 2p.m. (ET), pregame show starts at 1:30 p.m.
Venue: Citrus Bowl - Orlando, FL
TV: TV27 (locally)
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 (Spanish)
Streaming: MLS Live
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