Welcome to your match thread and preview for a Sunday afternoon match-up between Orlando City (8-21-4, 28 points) and the New York Red Bulls (21-7-5, 68 points) at Red Bull Arena. This is the second of the two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals in 2018 and, obviously, the regular-season finale.
This will be the first road finale for the Lions where they won’t be in Philadelphia. Orlando City has faced the Union in each of the previous three seasons in the final away match of the year. Here are the previous road finale results:
- 1-0 loss at Philadelphia on Oct. 15, 2015.
- 2-0 win at Philadelphia on Oct. 16, 2016.
- 6-1 loss at Philadelphia on Oct. 22, 2017.
Last year’s debacle showed an incredible desire on the Lions’ part to get into the off-season with the utmost speed. Hopefully this year’s squad will have a bit more pride and put up a bit more of a fight.
The Lions are 3-4-1 in seven meetings with the Red Bulls in the all-time series, and 1-3-0 in four matches at Red Bull Arena.
The teams met in Orlando way back on March 31, with both teams featuring different head coaches than they have now. The Lions pulled off a 4-3 home victory. Dom Dwyer marked his season debut with a brace and Will Johnson and Josué Colmán added goals to lift Orlando — the latter actually was a shot by Scott Sutter that went off the Paraguayan’s back. Florian Valot, Derrick Etienne, and Aaron Long. It was a lineup that many considered the Red Bulls’ B team since New York was engrossed in a Concacaf Champions League campaign at the time, but all of the goal scorers turned into important players for RBNY during the 2018 season and Long has been getting looks from the USMNT. It turns out the Red Bulls don’t have backups, just more starters.
The teams split their two matches in 2017, with each winning on its home pitch. Orlando earned a hard-fought 1-0 win at home on April 9 thanks to Servando Carrasco scoring on a corner kick to lift the Lions to their first ever win at home against New York. The Red Bulls won the rematch, 3-1, despite falling behind on a Carlos Rivas goal. Leo Pereira’s own-goal, Bradley Wright-Phillips’ strike, and an insurance tally from Sean Davis put the game away. But most people will remember the officiating with Kaká being sent off after video review for a playful face wash on friend Aurelien Collin and Felipe somehow not being dismissed after mocking referee Jorge Gonzalez following a booking.
In 2016, the Red Bulls went 2-0-1 in the three-game set. New York won 3-2 at Red Bull Arena in April and the teams played to a 1-1 draw in May in Orlando. The third meeting resulted in a 2-0 Orlando City road loss. The teams split the 2015 season series, with each winning on the road. The Red Bulls claimed a 2-0 win in Orlando in a game that saw Cyle Larin sent off for a phantom foul (earned by the acting of current Lion Sacha Kljestan, which was later rescinded) and then-manager Adrian Heath was ejected. Larin got his revenge with a hat trick in a 5-2 win in New Jersey.
Orlando City is a dreadful 2-14-0 on the road this season after a 2-1-0 start away from Orlando. I’m not a math professor, but that looks an awful lot like 13 consecutive road losses for the Lions since a 2-1 win at Colorado on April 29. Let’s move on.
If the Lions are going to have an opportunity to spoil the Red Bulls’ bid to overtake Atlanta for the Supporters’ Shield on Decision Day, they must deal with New York’s high pressure. The Red Bulls like to press high and force turnovers in the offensive third, and then quickly turn those into scoring opportunities and odd-man advantage situations and they’re good at forcing those turnovers with players like Tyler Adams, Sean Davis, Alex Muyl, Kaku, and others. Orlando cannot afford to be sloppy with the ball. It will be crucial for the Lions to limit errors and pass both quickly and accurately. Lazy or off-line passes will be punished.
The Lions will again be without captain Jonathan Spector (back), after he missed the first meeting against New York with a concussion. Pierre Da Silva (knee surgery) and Richie Laryea (concussion protocol) were listed as out as of Tuesday, while Stefano Pinho (quad) was listed as day-to-day. Carlos Ascues experienced tightness in his quad last Sunday against Columbus, requiring a substitution, and he was not at training Friday. If he can’t go, it may affect Orlando’s willingness to play three at the back. Cristian Higuita is once again dealing with his troublesome adductor.
New York is without Valot (torn left ACL), Vincent Bezecourt (MCL surgery), Kyle Duncan (torn right ACL), former Lion Tommy Redding (shoulder surgery), and Ben Mines (broken left clavicle surgery). Midfielder Marc Rzatkowski has an undisclosed injury and his status is unknown. Daniel Royer and Kemar Lawrenced are expected to be available after missing last weekend’s match.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more on the New York Red Bulls from Austin Fido, managing editor of SB Nation’s Once a Metro.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions for Sunday’s match.
- Ben Miller discusses how Sunday’s match is the final chance for Orlando City players to show James O’Connor they want to be here next year.
Orlando City (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: Adam Grinwis.
Defenders: Amro Tarek,
Lamine Sané Chris Schuler, Shane O’Neill.
Midfielders: Mohamed El-Munir, Yoshimar Yotun, Oriol Rosell, Scott Sutter.
Forwards: Sacha Kljestan, Dom Dwyer, Chris Mueller.
Bench: Joe Bendik, Donny Toia, Will Johnson, Tony Rocha, Josué Colmán, Cam Lindley.
New York Red Bulls (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Luis Robles.
Defenders: Kemar Lawrence, Aaron Long, Tim Parker, Michael Murillo.
Defensive Midfielders: Tyler Adams, Sean Davis.
Attacking Midfielders: Derrick Etienne, Kaku, Alex Muyl.
Forward: Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Bench: Ryan Meara, Connor Lade, Fidel Escobar, Andreas Ivan, Brian White, Daniel Royer, Cristian Casseres Jr.
Ref: Ismail Elfath.
AR1: Kathryn Nesbitt.
AR2: Nick Uranga.
4th: Jose Carlos Rivero.
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic.
How to Watch
Match Time: 4:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Red Bull Arena — Harrison, NJ.
TV: WRDQ TV27 (local only).
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: ESPN+, YouTube TV.
Match Thread Rules
This is your live thread for posting comments on the match. So use our comments section below to talk about the game in real time with other supporters. If you’re new, welcome to our happy home! While you’re here, please observe a few basic rules:
- Absolutely no links to illegal streams. They can get us in trouble, and no one wants that.
- Try not to be the person who spews nothing but venom and hate for the team. It’s OK to be critical, and, let’s face it, sometimes even the best teams can be frustrating to watch, but being overly negative relentlessly can sap the enjoyment for others.
- Keep it somewhat clean and fair when criticizing players / officials. You never know who might be reading.
- Do unto others in the match thread, the way you would have others do unto you. We are a fun community and want to keep it this way. We have a moderator, but we’d rather let him enjoy the game instead of having to play babysitter.
Enjoy the match! Go City!