Welcome to your match thread for tonight's Opening Day match-up between Orlando City and New York City FC. Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis will be facing his most recent MLS team for the second time, after beating his old club, 2-1, on Aug. 28 of last year. Oh, and it’ll be the first MLS match in Orlando City Stadium. You may or may not have heard about that.
Orlando City is 0-0-2 on Opening Day, drawing both New York City FC and Real Salt Lake in the club’s first two years in MLS (more on the former of the two below).
This is the first of three scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals in 2017 – all of which will take place on Sundays. The teams will meet in Yankee stadium on April 23 at 1:30 p.m. and the third meeting is set for May 21 at 7 p.m. at Orlando City Stadium.
Despite tonight’s visitors being the playoff team and the Lions being the club that finished below the red line, 2016 saw Orlando City take the season series, 2-0-1, winning and drawing at Yankee Stadium and also claiming the lone match at Camping World Stadium.
Orlando City is 3-1-2 in the all-time series (2-0-1 at home). Kaká’s first MLS brace more than offset a Stiven Mendoza goal in that final meeting of 2016, in which Kreis exacted a measure of revenge against the club that fired him after only one season. Orlando City won the first round of 2016, 1-0, at Yankee Stadium on March 18 on a goal by Cyle Larin, killer of New York teams. The teams drew 2-2 on May 29 in the Bronx. After falling behind, 2-0, on goals by Frederic Brillant and David Villa, the Lions rallied late, with Julio Baptista and Kevin Molino firing City level.
You may recall that the two 2015 expansion sides played their first MLS game against each other back on March 8, 2015. Kaká's free kick in stoppage time gave the Lions a 1-1 draw, canceling out Mix Diskerud's second-half goal.
Cristian Higuita (adductor strain), Rafael Ramos (hamstring), Kevin Alston (hamstring), and Tony Rocha are expected to miss the match due to injury.
Here's your mandatory match content for tonight:
- Gavin Ewbank has your match preview and prediction.
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more about New York City FC with the help from Jake Gofman of SB Nation’s NYCFC blog, Hudson River Blue.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and more predictions, plus an exclusive interview with Orlando City midfielder Pierre Da Silva.
Orlando City (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik.
Defenders: PC, Jonathan Spector, Jose, Aja, Donny Toia.
Midfielders: Kaká, Will Johnson, Antonio Nocerino, Matias Perez Garcia.
Forwards: Carlos Rivas, Cyle Larin.
Bench: Josh Saunders, Seb Hines, Conor Donovan, Servando Carrasco, Pierre Da Silva, Hadji Barry, Giles Barnes.
New York City FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Sean Johnson.
Defenders: Ronald Matarrita, Frederic Brillant, Maxime Chanot, RJ Allen.
Midfielders: Maxi Morales, Andrea Pirlo, Tommy McNamara.
Forwards: Sean Okoli, David Villa, Jack Harrison.
Bench: Eirik Johansen, Jefferson Mena, Ethan White, Mikey Lopez, Alexander Ring, Rodney Wallace, Khiry Shelton.
Ref: Jair Marrufo.
AR1: Corey Rockwell.
AR2: Kyle Atkins.
4th: Marcos DeOliveira.
How to Watch
Match Time: 5 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Orlando City Stadium -- Orlando, FL.
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes.
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Grande 1030 (Spanish).
Match Thread Rules
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