Welcome to your match thread for today's match-up between Orlando City SC (3-2-1, 10 points) and the San Jose Earthquakes (1-2-2, 5 points). This is the only meeting between the teams in 2018.
Oh, and hey, the Lions will be wearing sweet eco-friendly jerseys in honor of Earth Day, as part of the Parley for the Oceans campaign. The kit is made from Parley Ocean Plastic and ”For the Oceans” is displayed on the inside of the neck.
Orlando City is 0-0-3 in the previous three MLS meetings with the Quakes since the club joined Major League Soccer in 2015, and 0-0-1 at home. The Lions have led all three matches only to see San Jose pull level, with two of those tying goals coming very late. In last year’s meeting, Carlos Rivas finally broke the scoreless tie and gave Orlando City the lead in the 81st minute, but Chris Wondolowski spoiled the Lions’ night with an equalizer two minutes later as the teams drew at Avaya Stadium, 1-1.
In 2016, the Lions were gut-punched in the 94th minute in an emotional match that ended in a 2-2 draw. It was the first home match following the Pulse nightclub tragedy and what appeared to be a storybook ending to a cathartic win turned sour on a last-gasp equalizer by Shea Salinas. Seb Hines opened the scoring for Orlando only to see Chad Barrett tie it up. Julio Baptista restored the lead late but Salinas ruined everything.
The two teams also drew in the first meeting, a 1-1 affair at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, with the Lions down to 10 men after Shea was sent off in the first half. Kaká (64’) and Wondolowski (68’) each scored from the penalty spot in that initial meeting.
Orlando City enters on a three-game winning streak, with two of those victories coming in the friendly confines of Orlando City Stadium. San Jose is winless in its last four (0-2-2) and is 0-1-1 on the road this year. The Quakes have drawn their last two games, at Philadelphia and at home vs. Houston.
Jason Kreis said earlier this week that he doesn’t expect captain Jonathan Spector (concussion protocol) to be available Saturday, and it doesn’t appear that fullback Scott Sutter (“lower body injury”) will be fit either. RJ Allen (also a “lower body injury”) returned to training Wednesday but it’s still up in the air if he plays this week or gets a week to rest, which may push Will Johnson to right back again. Whether that opens a spot for Oriol Rosell to finally make his Lions debut or for Cristian Higuita — who played an excellent game last Friday at Philly — remains to be seen. I would think Higuita gets the nod based on earning it last week, with Rosell potentially coming off the bench to spell either Higuita or Yoshimar Yotun. For the Earthquakes, only Tommy Thompson (illness) was on the injury report, though defender Harold Cummings is suspended.
As the Lions have repeatedly discovered, they’ll have to mark Wondo from kickoff through the final whistle, as the veteran striker has a knack for finding space and scoring league goals. San Jose has a roster full of talented players but can never seem to quite get to the next level. Defender Florian Jungwirth, forwards Danny Hoesen and Quincy Amarikwa, midfielders Fatai Alashe, Anibal Godoy, and Jahmir Hyka are all capable of great performances. The same can be said of Designated Player Valeri Qazaishvili, a Georgian international with seven goals and four assists in just 18 career MLS games. Playing out on the left, it will be important for Johnson to have a strong game in relief of Sutter and Allen.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more about San Jose with help from Robert Jonas, manager of SB Nation’s Earthquakes blog, Center Line Soccer.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions, plus our exclusive interview with Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
- Our Logan Oliver presented his three keys to Orlando City winning against the Earthquakes.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1),
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik
Defenders: Mohamed El-Munir, Amro Tarek, Lamine Sané, Will Johnson.
Defensive Midfielders: Yoshimar Yotun, Cristian Higuita.
Attacking Midfielders: Stefano Pinho, Sacha Kljestan, Chris Mueller.
Forward: Dom Dwyer.
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Donny Toia, Dillon Powers, Oriol Rosell, RJ Allen, Josué Colmán, Justin Meram.
San Jose Earthquakes (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Andrew Tarbell.
Defenders: Shea Salinas, Francois Affolter, Yefferson Quintana, Nick Lima.
Midfielders: Jahmir Hyka, Florian Jungwirth. Aníbal Godoy, Magnus Eriksson.
Forwards: Danny Hoesen, Chris Wondolowski.
Bench: Matt Bersano, Jackson Yueill, Quincy Amarikwa. Fatai Alashe, Valeri Qazaishvili, Jimmy Ockford, Christopher Wehan.
Ref: Ismail Elfath.
AR1: Kevin Klinger.
AR2: Felisha Mariscal.
4th: Rubiel Vazquez.
VAR: Christina Unkel.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: WRDQ TV27.
Radio: Real Radio 104.1, La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: ESPN+, MLS Live.
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