Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday evening match-up between Orlando City (7-19-4, 25 points) and the New England Revolution (8-12-11, 35 points). This is the second of the two scheduled meetings between the two Eastern Conference clubs this season. The teams have combined for one win since they last met back in August.
Both teams will be looking to snap winless skids — New England’s is at four (0-2-2) while the Lions’ stands at 11 (0-8-3). Woof.
The Lions are 2-2-4 in the all-time series against New England and 0-2-1 at Gillette Stadium. The most recent meeting saw the teams combine for six goals in a 3-3 draw at Orlando City Stadium on Aug. 4. Orlando battled back from a 2-0 deficit after Juan Agudelo and Cristian Penilla found the net. Dom Dwyer pulled one back and Amro Tarek scored his first MLS goal (which shockingly was never changed to a Matt Turner own goal, if I’m being honest) to level things. Teal Bunbury restored the Revolution’s lead, but Scott Sutter headed home a Yoshimar Yotún set piece delivery in the 93rd to rescue a point for the Lions.
City completed a 6-1 demolition of 10-man New England at home last Sept. 27. Kaká scored a brace, with Dwyer getting his first home goal and Yotún and Antonio Nocerino each getting their first ever goal as Lions. Seb Hines also scored for Orlando and Lee Nguyen got the Revs’ only tally on a free kick. New England won at Gillette Stadium last year by a 4-0 count and it could have been worse. Kei Kamara scored a hat trick and Bunbury also scored, with Nguyen assisting on all four goals to tie an MLS record. Jose Aja was sent off after receiving two yellow cards.
Orlando won at home in Jason Kreis’ debut as the Lions’ coach on July 31, 2016, as Kevin Molino scored a brace for City in a 3-1 win. Cyle Larin also scored to more than offset Kamara’s strike. The teams also drew 2-2 twice in 2016 (and three times in the first four meetings), starting with the weird affair in Orlando back on April 17, 2016, in which the teams reached a controversial 2-2 final score. It was leveled by a very late Nguyen penalty for a handball in the box on Servando Carrasco, who didn’t touch it with any part of his hand or arm. Kaká opened the scoring on a penalty and Molino scored in the 92nd minute. Between those two goals, Bunbury scored off a corner that should have been ruled a goal kick. The second 2016 meeting reached the same final score on April 30 in New England. This time the Revs appeared the better side for much of the game, but the Lions fought back twice from one-goal deficits on goals by Molino and Carlos Rivas to nullify scores by Diego Fagundez and Agudelo.
The teams met twice in 2015, with Orlando City rallying from a 2-0 deficit in the final 17 minutes to draw 2-2 (there’s that score again) at the Citrus Bowl in April. Larin and Aurelien Collin provided the goals for the Lions. The Sept. 5 rematch at Gillette Stadium didn’t go as well, with New England taking a 3-0 win. Fagundez, Agudelo and Chris Tierney scored for the Revolution.
Orlando City has been historically bad and has won only two away matches all season. The Lions have never won at Gillette Stadium. There is no reason to believe either of those trends will change this time around, especially with so many critical pieces missing (more on that below). The Lions have only one win in the last 21 matches (1-17-3) and I don’t mean (or want) to belabor the point but there just doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of this horrible tunnel.
New England was above the playoff line the last time the teams met but has stumbled mightily ever since. The Revs are 1-8-5 in their last 14 games. That’s not Orlando City bad, but it’s still quite bad.
The guys Orlando must keep in check are Penilla and Bunbury. Quietly one of the best signings in MLS this season, Penilla has 11 goals and six assists this season, with Bunbury chipping in 11 strikes and four helpers of his own. Penilla likes to pressure the fullbacks and can either score himself or set up others. He pops up on both sides of the formation, so both fullbacks must stay focused for 90 minutes. Bunbury, as mentioned in the “History” section above, has killed the Lions over the course of this series.
The Lions are without their only two strikers on the roster, as Dom Dwyer is on yellow card suspension and Stefano Pinho has picked up an injury. Whoever plays up top — and you’d have to think the leading candidates are Chris Mueller and Josué Colmán — must find a way to put pressure on a New England back line that has been inconsistent this season. The lads in purple must control the midfield — easier said than done without Yotún (international duty) and possibly Uri Rosell (ankle) — and build up cogent attacks that lead to quality scoring chances. That seems simple, but Orlando’s offense has been nonexistent for more than a month, going scoreless in four straight matches.
Joining Yotún on international duty are Amro Tarek and Mohamed El-Munir. As mentioned above, Dwyer is out on yellow card suspension (and Yotún will be once he returns from duty with Peru). Additionally, Rosell is nursing an ankle issue as noted above, and Orlando lists Pierre Da Silva (knee) and Cam Lindley (ankle) as out and Adam Grinwis (hand) as day-to-day. Jonathan Spector (back) hasn’t been fully training, nor has PC (hamstring) or Stefano Pinho (quad). If you’re reading this, you might be expected to suit up, so keep your jersey handy.
New England’s injury list shows only Chris Tierney (torn ACL) as out for the Revs, although Seth Macomber over at The Bent Musket writes that Andrew Farrell could be out for the year with a hamstring injury. Antonio Delamea (Slovenia) and Zach Herivaux (Haiti) are with their national teams for this international window.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides background on the Revs from Jake Catanese of SB Nation’s New England Blog, The Bent Musket.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions for the Lions vs. the Revs.
- Our Ben Miller asks who should start at striker for Orlando City against the Revs with Dwyer and Pinho unavailable.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Adam Grinwis.
Defenders: RJ Allen, Lamine Sané, Shane O’Neill, Scott Sutter.
Defensive Midfielders: Carlos Ascues, Tony Rocha.
Attacking Midfielders: Chris Mueller, Will Johnson, Richie Laryea.
Forward: Josué Colmán.
Bench: Joe Bendik.Donny Toia, Chris Schuler, Dillon Powers, Cristian Higuita. Sacha Kljestan, Cam Lindley.
New England Revolution (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Brad Knighton.
Defenders: Kelyn Rowe.Jalil Anibaba, Brandon Bye, Michael Mancienne.
Midfielders: Wilfried Zahibo, Scott Caldwell, Luis Caicedo.
Forwards: Cristian Penilla, Teal Bunbury, Diego Fagundez,
Bench: Matt Turner, Guillermo Hauche, Isaac Angking, Mark Segbers, Juan Agudelo, Brian Wright, Cristhian Machado.
Ref: Dave Gantar.
AR1: Joe Fletcher.
AR2: Peter Balciunas.
4th: Robert Sibiga.
VAR: Mark Geiger.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Gillette Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: WRDQ TV27.
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: ESPN+, YouTube TV.
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go City!