Welcome to your match thread for tonight's meeting between Orlando City (3-3-6, 15 points) and New York City FC (4-4-5, 17 points). It's a key match-up in the Eastern Conference, particularly after D.C. United's win at SKC on Friday knocked the Lions below the red line.
This is the second of three scheduled meetings this season and the second in the Bronx. Orlando City won the first round, 1-0, back on March 18 on a goal by Cyle Larin, killer of New York teams. NYCFC will make the trip to Central Florida for an August 28 rematch.
With that March victory, Orlando City is 2-1-1 in the all-time series, after splitting the three matches last season. In the first meeting -- the inaugural MLS game for both sides -- Kaká's free kick in stoppage time leveled the game 1-1 on March 8, 2015, canceling out Mix Diskerud's second-half goal. The Lions' lone loss in the series came in a 5-3 decision at Yankee Stadium on July 26, as Larin's hat trick was undone by a porous defense, a David Villa brace, and goals by Javier Calle, Thomas McNamara, and Diskerud. The third match-up, and second in Orlando, resulted in the Lions winning 2-1 on Oct. 16. Kwame Watson-Siriboe scored in first-half stoppage time, but two goals by Larin in the second half led Orlando to a comeback win.
Remember about four games ago when Adrian Heath had his entire squad to pick from except Pedro Ribeiro (back surgery)? Good times. Those days seem like a quaint memory now. Ribeiro is joined on the injury list by Rafael Ramos (hamstring), Darwin Ceren (ankle), and Seb Hines (knee), although Hines is nearing a return and was reportedly making the trip with the team.
Kaká will miss the match after a Thursday night call-up to Brazil's Copa America team to replace Douglas Costa. David Mateos (red card suspension) and Cristian Higuita (yellow card accumulation suspension) are also out. If you're looking ahead, Carlos Rivas is one yellow away from suspension and Brek Shea is two away from that fate, as is Hines.
Meanwhile, NYCFC is missing Ronald Matarrita due to international duty, but they've rested for a week while the Lions played three matches in nine days. Oh, and the New Yorkers will probably come out with everything they've got after being embarrassed 7-0 on their home field last Saturday. These are not ideal conditions for OCSC but we'll see what happens at 4:30.
Here is your mandatory content to prepare you for today's match:
- Austin Siegel's got your match preview and prediction.
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more about the New York City FC from SB Nation's blog Hudson River Blue.
- This week's PawedCast gives our key match-ups and more predictions, plus our exclusive interview with Hadji Barry and a look back at the Philadelphia and Montreal matches.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik.
Defenders: Brek Shea, Conor Donovan, Tommy Redding, Kevin Alston
Defensive Midfielders: Antonio Nocerino, Servando Carrasco.
Attacking Midfielders: Adrian Winter, Julio Baptista, Kevin Molino.
Forward: Cyle Larin.
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Devron Garcia, Luke Boden, Harrison Heath, Carlos Rivas, Hadji Barry.
New York City FC (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: Eirik Johansen.
Defenders: Jason Hernandez, Frederic Brillant, Andoni Iraola.
Midfielders: Andrea Pirlo, Federico Bravo, Kwadwo Poku, Thomas McNamara.
Forwards: Steven Mendoza, David Villa, Khiry Shelton.
Bench: Josh Saunders, R.J. Allen, Ethan White, Mikey Lopez, Frank Lampard, Jack Harrison, Mix Diskerud.
Ref: Jorge Gonzalez.
AR1: Jeff Muschik.
AR2: Claudiu Badea.
4th: Rubiel Vazquez.
How to Watch
Match Time: 4:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Yankee Stadium - Bronx, NY
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes.
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 (Spanish), SiriusXM FC.
Streaming: Watch ESPN.
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