The transfer window is closed for the summer, and now is the time for the club’s newest additions to make a difference. Orlando City’s fall from being a top team in the East earlier this season has made things difficult as of late. And sitting below the red line with 11 games left this season, the time is running out to get back on track.
This weekend, the Lions will attempt to do so in Red Bull Arena when they travel to Harrison, NJ, to take on the New York Red Bulls tomorrow night (7:30 p.m. ET, TV27).
The last time these two sides met, things were much different. It was the fourth game of the season for Orlando City (8-9-6, 30 points), and the 1-0 win at Orlando City Stadium would be the beginning of a four-game winning streak — which ended with the Lions going into their current slump.
The Lions come into the match on the final leg of a three-game road stint after giving up a pair of unanswered goals to fall to the Montreal Impact, 2-1, last week. Cyle Larin broke his scoring drought with an early first-half goal, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Montreal’s goals in the second half, which included an early game-tying penalty kick by Ignacio Piatti.
The scripts have flipped for both sides, and on the other side of things, the Red Bulls (11-9-2, 35 points) have turned things around and have become one of the better teams in the East, having won four straight before falling to New York City FC in the Hudson River Derby this past weekend at Yankee Stadium.
In Orlando’s two trips to Red Bull Arena last season, the Lions dropped both meetings. They’ll be hoping to reverse that course on Saturday.
Grabbing points from Red Bull Arena will be tough for the Lions this weekend as they’ll be without top defender Jonathan Spector, who left training on Tuesday with an apparent knee injury, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Should Spector not make the trip, Tommy Redding, who has been dealing with plantar fasciitis in his foot, should be healthy and ready to go alongside Jose Aja.
The club’s newest Designated Player, Yoshimar Yotun, is also expected to be available for Jason Kreis this weekend, adding a much-needed boost to the Lions’ midfield under Larin and Dom Dwyer, the latter of which has yet to score through his first two games with Orlando City.
The availability of the club’s latest addition, Dillon Powers, is unknown at the time of this writing.
New York Red Bulls
The Red Bulls will be without one of their top scorers this season, Daniel Royer, who was voted the MLS Player of the Month for July. Royer is expected to miss this weekend’s match with a hyper-extended knee suffered in the game against NYCFC. He has 10 goals this season, which is second on his club but would put him at the top of Orlando City’s scoring list this season.
Sal Zizzo will also miss the match due to suspension after picking up a second yellow/red card against NYCFC.
Player to Watch For
Bradley Wright-Phillips has 13 goals this season and will be looking to add more against Orlando’s weakened back line. Few players in the league can run behind back lines and finish like BWP does, and he’ll be a consistent threat throughout the match.
Prediction: New York Red Bulls 2, Orlando City 0.