Welcome to your match thread for tonight's meeting between Orlando City (2-1-3, 9 points) and the New York Red Bulls (1-6-0, 3 points). This is the first of three scheduled meetings between these teams in 2016. They'll go at it again at the Citrus Bowl on Friday, May 6, and the Lions will return to Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, July 13.
New York has lost four straight and has been shut out five times in seven matches, but don't be fooled. Last year's Supporters' Shield winners are like a sleeping giant and Orlando will need an outstanding performance to bring home the points.
The Lions and Red Bulls split their two match-ups last season, with each team winning on the road. New York captured the first meeting 2-0, after Cyle Larin was wrongly sent off on one of two cards drawn by Sacha Kljestan dives (a Cristian Higuita yellow being the other). Kljestan also scored the only goal New York would need, as the Lions couldn't find the net despite keeping lots of pressure on the visitors. Mike Grella added a stoppage time dagger.
Orlando City won the return fixture in New York, 5-2, behind a Larin hat trick, with the Canadian international setting an MLS rookie goal-scoring record in the process.
If both managers can stay on the sideline for the entire game, it'll be a first in the series. Adrian Heath was sent off in Orlando and Jesse Marsch was shown the door in the return leg.
Just when it looked like the Lions were getting healthy again, Kaká picked up a minor groin injury and will miss tonight's match. In addition, defensive midfielder Antonio Nocerino is suspended for today's game for entering the pitch in stoppage time of the New England match to give Kevin Molino a hug after the Trinidadian scored a dramatic goal. The good news is that Orlando City should get Higuita back from his groin injury and Pedro Ribeiro (back) is nearing a return, although he didn't make the trip to New York. Right back Rafael Ramos is still day-to-day with a hamstring tweak but Kevin Alston played pretty well in Ramos' absence a week ago.
Here is your mandatory content to prepare you for tonight's match:
- Austin Siegel's got your match preview and prediction.
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more about the Red Bulls from SBN's Once a Metro blog.
- This week's PawedCast has our key match-ups and more predictions (plus, our exclusive interview with Orlando Pride defender Steph Catley).
- Our staff roundtable takes a critical look at tonight's match and recaps the Revs.
- Brent Petkus has your scouting report on NYRB.
Orlando City (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik.
Defenders: Brek Shea, Seb Hines, Tommy Redding, Rafael Ramos.
Midfielders: Adrian Winter, Cristian Higuita, Darwin Ceren, Kevin Molino.
Forwards: Cyle Larin, Julio Baptista.
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Kevin Alston, David Mateos, Aurelien Collin, Servando Carrasco, Carlos Rivas, Hadji Barry.
New York Red Bulls (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Luis Robles.
Defenders: Sal Zizzo, Kemar Lawrence, Karl Ouimette, Ronald Zubar, .
Defensive Midfielders: Dax McCarty, Felipe.
Attacking Midfielders: Mike Grella, Sacha Kljestan, Lloyd Sam.
Forwards: Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Bench: Kyle Reynish, Chris Duvall, Zach Carroll, Alex Muyl, Sean Davis, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anatole Abang.
Ref: Hilario Grajeda.
AR1: Corey Rockwell.
AR2: James Conlee.
4th: Mark Kadlecik.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Red Bull Arena - Harrison, NJ.
TV: FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes.
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 (Spanish).
Streaming: MLS Live, FOX Soccer 2Go.
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City's official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).
Match Thread Rules
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