Welcome to your match thread for this weekend’s match-up between Orlando City (6-5-1, 19 points) and New York City FC (7-3-3, 24 points) at Yankee Stadium. It’s the second of three scheduled meetings between the two 2015 MLS expansion rivals this season, and the second of two in the Bronx. NYCFC will come to Orlando City Stadium on July 26 to close out the regular-season series.
The Lions start a three-match MLS road trip and the first of four straight away from home in all competitions. The Lions are 2-2-0 on the road this year and have actually won their last two games outside the Sunshine State — at Colorado and Philadelphia. However, New York City FC is a perfect 5-0-0 at Yankee Stadium this season.
Orlando City is 5-3-2 in the all-time series, with a 2-2-1 mark at Yankee Stadium. The Lions are 3-2-0 against the Pigeons under Jason Kreis, but tomorrow’s hosts won the most recent two meetings. The last trip to Yankee Stadium saw the Lions gift two goals off turnovers in their own defensive third, resulting in a 2-0 loss on March 17. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and Maxi Moralez were the beneficiaries of those turnovers.
The previous meeting was the last of three in 2017, with NYCFC winning 3-0 last May 21. That was Orlando’s first home loss in Orlando City Stadium and it kept the Lions from sweeping the 2018 season series. David Villa scored twice in that match, opening the scoring from the spot after Kaká was whistled for a handball in the box. Rodney Wallace also scored for NYCFC. The prior match-up was a 2-1 win for Orlando with Cyle Larin staking the Lions to a 2-0 lead before a Villa response off a set piece threw the hosts a lifeline. In fact, Larin scored all of Orlando’s goals in the series last year, netting the game-winner in the first match ever at Orlando City Stadium, a 1-0 win by the Lions on opening day. So...no Lion has scored a goal against the Citizens except Larin since 2016.
Orlando City went 1-1-1 against NYC in 2015 and 2-0-1 in 2016.
NYC enters the game having lost its last game and winning only one of its last four (1-2-1). But that win came at home May 19 vs. the Rapids.
Midfielder/defender Alexander Ring, who was probably the best player on the field in the March 17 game against Orlando, is the engine that drives NYCFC. Perhaps the most lethal finisher in MLS, Villa will pose 90 minutes worth of problems for Orlando City’s back line, particularly on the small Yankee Stadium playing surface.
Possession is almost a detriment at Yankee Stadium, as turning the opponent over and countering can create lightning-fast problems for defenses and test goalkeepers’ resolve. The Lions like to possess the ball but that may not be the best option unless their passing is absolutely clinical. Indeed, Orlando seemed content to concede possession and look for opportunities in the first meeting. That wasn’t ultimately successful but several regulars were out and it was the first ever appearance of Sacha Kljestan in Orlando City purple. Without the two horrific turnovers, a not-so-fun but ultimately acceptable 0-0 draw was looking likely.
Dom Dwyer is still a question mark as he recovers from a lower body injury. Jonathan Spector and Scott Sutter have been training this week with Sutter the more likely of the two to be available. Lamine Sané is also day-to-day with knee injury. Chris Schuler had surgery on his broken arm and the Lions hope to have him available by the June 9 match in Vancouver. Yoshimar Yotún and Amro Tarek are away on international duty. Will Johnson should be available after an illness kept him out on Saturday. Wow, that’s a long injury paragraph.
New York City FC has Yangel Herrera dealing with an ankle issue sustained in the loss to Houston last weekend. Maxime Chanot could return from injury soon, while Ronald Matarrita and Rodney Wallace have both joined the Costa Rican national team in preparation for the World Cup.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Scott Carnevale wrote about the three keys for Orlando City to stop its skid in the Big Apple.
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more on NYCFC from Christian Smith, managing editor of SB Nation’s Hudson River Blue.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions, plus our exclusive interview with Orlando City midfielder/center back Tony Rocha.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik.
Defenders: Donny Toia, Tony Rocha,RJ Allen, Will Johnson.
Defensive Midfielders: Oriol Rosell, Cristian Higuita.
Attacking Midfielders: Chris Mueller, Sacha Kljestan, Justin Meram.
Forward: Josué Colmán.
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr., Mohamed El-Munir, Richie Laryea, Dillon Powers, PC, Stefano Pinho, Jose Villareal.
New York City FC (3-4-3)
Goalkeeper: Sean Johnson.
Defenders: Alexander Callens, Alex Ring, Sebastien Ibeagha.
Midfielders: Tommy McNamara, Ebenezer Ofori, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Anton Tinnerholm.
Forwards: Jesus Medina, Maxi Moralez, Jo Inge Berget.
Bench: Brad Stuver, Maxime Chanot, Ben Sweat, Cédric Hountondji, David Villa, Jonathan Lewis, Kwame Awuah.
Ref: Hilario Grajeda.
AR1: Adam Wienckowski.
AR2: Brian Dunn.
4th: Rubiel Vazquez.
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, NY.
TV: WRDQ TV27 (local only).
Radio: 96.9 FM The Game (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: ESPN+, YouTube TV.
Match Thread Rules
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