Welcome to your match thread for tonight's match-up between Orlando City (7-5-2, 23 points) and the Chicago Fire (7-3-3, 24 points) at Orlando City Stadium. It’s the first of two scheduled meetings between these Eastern Conference opponents, with the Lions making the return trip to Chicago on Saturday, June 24 at 8:30 p.m.
The Lions are 2-0-3 against Chicago in the all-time series since the club joined MLS, although the Fire have gotten the better of Orlando in the U.S. Open Cup. Orlando City has not won at home in the series (0-0-2).
The teams split the points by drawing both meetings last season. Cyle Larin and David Accam traded goals in the first 14 minutes of a 1-1 draw in Orlando on March 11 of last year, despite Chicago going down a man in the 26th minute. The Fire again came from behind to draw, 2-2, in the return leg in August, with Razvan Cocis scoring off a set piece in the 79th minute. John Goossens opened the scoring but Larin and Kaká tallies put the Lions ahead until the late equalizer.
The teams met once in Orlando in 2015, with the Lions and Fire battling to a 1-1 draw. You may recall that five-hour, weather-delayed affair with Eric Gehrig's own-goal canceling out an Accam strike. The other three meetings came in Chicago, with City winning 3-2 and 1-0 in MLS matches and falling 3-1 in USOC quarterfinal action.
Orlando is 6-1-1 at home and won Wednesday — 2-0 over D.C. United — to snap a six-game winless skid (0-4-2). Chicago is one of the league’s hottest teams, winning four straight and going unbeaten in five. The Fire are 1-3-1 on the road but that win and a draw came in their last two away from Toyota Park. Chicago did not play a midweek game, so despite the road trip the Fire are the more rested side.
As far as the injured list, Kaká (calf) returned to training on Thursday and could play today, although I expect Jason Kreis to be cautious and start him on the bench. Kevin Alston (hamstring) is nearing a return. Tommy Redding is with the U.S. U-20s for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. For Chicago, Dax McCarty is with the USMNT and midfielder Daniel Johnson (leg) is questionable.
Here's your mandatory match content for tonight:
- Austin David has your match preview and prediction.
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more about the Fire from Sean Spence of SB Nation’s Chicago blog, Hot Time in Old Town.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and more predictions, plus our exclusive interview with defender Scott Sutter.
Orlando City (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik.
Defenders: PC, Leo Pereira, Jonathan Spector, Rafael Ramos.
Midfielders: Cristian Higuita, Giles Barnes, Antonio Nocerino, Will Johnson.
Forwards: Carlos Rivas, Cyle Larin.
Bench: Josh Saunders, Scott Sutter, Jose Aja, Luis Gil, Kaká Servando Carrasco, Matias Perez Garcia.
Chicago Fire (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Matt Lampson.
Defenders: Brandon Vincent, Joao Meira, Johan Kappelhof, Matt Polster.
Defensive Midfielders: Drew Connor, Bastian Schweinsteiger, .
Attacking Midfielders: David Accam, Michael de Leeuw, Luis Solignac.
Forward: Nemanja Nikolic.
Bench: Jorge Bava, Michael Harrington, Arturo Alvarez, Jonathan Campbell, David Arshakyan, Djordje Mihailovic, Brandt Bronico.
Ref: Ted Unkel.
AR1: Adam Wienckowski.
AR2: Brian Dunn.
4th: Marcos DeOliveira.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: FOX Sports 1, FOX Deportes.
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: FOX Sports Go.
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