Welcome to your match thread for a Sunday late-afternoon match-up between Orlando City (4-2-1, 13 points) and the Colorado Rapids (2-2-2, 8 points) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. It’s the one and only meeting between the two sides this season.
This is already Orlando’s fourth game against Western Conference opponents, having gone 2-1-0 in the first three, and it’s the second of three consecutive matches against teams from the opposite half of the country — Real Salt Lake visits Orlando next weekend.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
Orlando City is 2-0-1 in the all-time series (0-0-1 on the road) and has out-scored the ‘Pids, 4-0, in the three previous meetings.
The last time the two teams met, Orlando City won, 2-0 at home, as part of a four-game win streak overall and the fifth consecutive victory to open Orlando City Stadium. Carlos Rivas and Kaká provided all the offense in that 2017 meeting at the end of last April.
The last time the teams played in Colorado, it resulted in a 0-0 draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in just the fourth match since Jason Kreis took over Orlando City. The 2015 meeting at the Citrus Bowl saw the Lions defeat the Rapids, 2-0. Rivas came on for an injured Brek Shea in that match and turned the game around. Kaká and Cyle Larin scored for Orlando City.
The Lions enter the weekend on a four-game winning streak. Orlando City is 1-1-0 on the road in 2018 but won its most recent away match at the Philadelphia Union. The Rapids lost 3-0 at Real Salt Lake last week, but played with 10 men for the last 70 minutes after Tim Howard was sent off for denial of a goal scoring opportunity. Colorado is unbeaten at home in 2018 (2-0-1), taking full advantage of the altitude to grind other teams’ lungs to dust.
The Rapids look improved this season, having already gotten results against the likes of FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City, and Toronto FC — albeit a largely reserve squad from the Reds. Colorado is averaging 1.5 goals per match with an offense that looks better than last year while still demonstrating a stout defense. The ‘Pids have yielded only two goals at home this year — both to Sporting KC.
If the Lions are going to take something from this game, they’ll need to start well. Chasing the game is tough enough for any team, but doing it at altitude is all the more difficult. The Rapids will show Orlando a different look than years past, with a new 3-5-2 formation, and the Lions will need to defend well against the likes of Dominique Badji, Joe Mason, Jack Price, and Shkelzen Gashi.
Orlando will again be without defenders Jonathan Spector (concussion) and Scott Sutter (knee). Howard’s sending off means Zac MacMath will get a start in the Colorado goal. MacMath was in the net for last year’s game in Orlando. Also missing for the Rapids will be defenders Kortne Ford (knee) and Marlon Hairston (knee).
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more about the Rapids with help from Abbie Lang of SB Nation’s Colorado blog, Burgundy Wave.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions, plus an exclusive interview with Orlando City defender Amro Tarek.
- Our Ben Miller offers up his three keys to victory against the Rapids.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik.
Defenders: Mohamed El-Munir, Amro Tarek, Lamine Sané, Will Johnson.
Defensive Midfielders: Cristian Higuita,Yoshimar Yotún.
Attacking Midfielders: Justin Meram, Sacha Kljestan, Chris Mueller.
Forward: Dom Dwyer.
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., RJ Allen, Donny Toia, Richie Laryea, Oriol Rosell, Josué Colmán, Stefano Pinho.
Goalkeeper: Zac MacMath.
Defenders: Tommy Smith, Danny Wilson, Deklan Wynne.
Midfielders: Édgar Castillo, Enzo Martinez, Jack Price, Shkëlzen Gashi, Bismark Boateng.
Forwards: Dominique Badji, Joe Mason.
Bench: Andrew Dykstra, Kip Colvey, Dillon Serna, Yannick Boli, Micheal Azira, Axel Sjoberg, Jack McBean.
Ref: Jose Carlos Rivero.
AR1: Corey Parker.
AR2: Kyle Atkins.
4th: Daniel Radford.
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic.
How to Watch
Match Time: 4 p.m. ET.
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park — Commerce City, CO.
TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes.
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: ESPN3, WatchESPN, ESPN+.
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Enjoy the match!