Welcome to your live match thread for tonight's match-up between Orlando City (4-5-10, 22 points) and Columbus Crew SC (3-7-9, 18 points). It's the first of two scheduled meetings between the clubs this season, with the return leg in Orlando coming Saturday, Sept. 17 at 7:30 p.m. It’s the final game of the brief Bobby Murphy era, as the interim head coach will go back to being an assistant under new boss Jason Kreis on Monday.
The teams met four times last season in all competitions, with a 1-1-1 split in three MLS matches and Orlando City winning the U.S. Open Cup match-up, 2-0, in the round of 16 on June 30 of last year. Kaká and Carlos Rivas did the damage in that match for Orlando. Each team won a home match, with the Crew drawing first blood in Ohio on April 18, 2015, with a 3-0 win. Columbus took advantage of a 34th-minute red card on Rafael Ramos, with Federico Higuain, Justin Meram, and Kei Kamara finding the net. It was a nightmare game for Ramos, whose mistake set up the first Crew goal and had him issuing the fans an apology on social media after the match.
The Lions scored last in a 2-2 draw in Orlando on May 30, 2015, but you could say Columbus got the better result, as the Crew were down to 10 men. Tony Tchani and Kamara sandwiched goals around a Kaká spot kick tally and Pedro Ribeiro scored a dramatic tying goal late. The Lions got their first league win over Columbus in style last Aug. 1, with a 5-2 thrashing of the Crew at the Citrus Bowl. Higuain put the visitors up just six minutes in, but then it was all Orlando. Cyle Larin scored twice, with Darwin Ceren, Aurelien Collin and Cristian Higuita each finding the net as well.
The Crew are on a seven-game winless skid (0-3-4) dating back to a 4-3 win over Real Salt Lake on May 28. Orlando is winless in four league matches (0-2-2) — and five in all competitions (0-3-2) — since a 3-2 home win over Toronto FC on June 25. So, this one could very well be headed for a draw. The key for the Lions will be to stop Ola Kamara (no relation to Kei), who has nine goals in eight games. Orlando City hasn’t seen much of Ola, but they are aware of his presence.
"If I am honest I haven’t seen so much of the striker from Columbus because he is new," center back David Mateos said after training Friday. "I’ve seen some clips and he’s strong. He’s like a lot of strikers in the league. In this league you have good strikers and you have to stop them. They have good players, they have fast players and good play in the front. But I think if we play like we did in Vancouver we’ll get a good result and we don’t have to think about that so much."
Kaká trained this week and should be in the lineup and Brek Shea returns from yellow card suspension. Rafael Ramos (hamstring), Tommy Redding (hamstring), Harrison Heath (knee), and Pedro Ribeiro (back) are out. New center back Jose Aja is available tonight as well. For Columbus, Higuain (sports hernia) may be back after returning to training. Defender Gaston Sauro (knee) and forward Connor Casey (knee) are out.
Here's your mandatory content for tonight's match:
- Austin Siegel's got your match preview and prediction.
- Our Intelligence Report features a bit of a scouting report on the Crew from Patrick Murphy of SB Nation's Columbus blog, Massive Report.
- This week's PawedCast has key match-ups and match predictions plus we talked to our friends from RSL Soapbox and Hudson River Blue about Jason Kreis.
- Wade Williams runs this week’s roundtable discussion, including talk about tonight’s match.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Brek Shea is a late scratch after picking up a minor injury just before the trip, per Alicia DelGallo of the Orlando Sentinel.
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik.
Defenders: Luke Boden, Seb Hines, David Mateos, Kevin Alston.
Defensive Midfielders: Servando Carrasco, Darwin Ceren.
Attacking Midfielders: Kevin Molino, Julio Baptista, Hadji Barry.
Forward: Cyle Larin.
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Jose Aja, Conor Donovan, Cristian Higuita, Kaká and Carlos Rivas.
Columbus Crew SC (4-4-1-1)
Goalkeeper: Steve Clark.
Defenders: Harrison Afful, Michael Parkhurst, Tyson Wahl, Corey Ashe.
Defensive Midfielders: Cedrick Mabwati, Tony Tchani, Wil Trapp, Justin Meram.
Attacking Midfielder: Mohammed Saeid.
Forward: Ola Kamara.
Bench: Brad Stuver, Chad Barson, Waylon Francis, Dilly Duka, Ethan Finlay, Hector Jimenez, Federico Higuain.
Ref: Drew Fischer.
AR1: Jeremy Hanson.
AR2: Jason White.
4th: Nima Saghafi.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Mapfre Stadium – Columbus, OH
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 (Spanish).
Streaming: MLS Live.
Match Thread Rules
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