Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday evening match-up between Orlando City (7-14-1, 22 points) and the New England Revolution (7-7-7, 28 points). This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the two Eastern Conference clubs this season, with the Lions making the trip up to New England on Oct. 13.
Both teams will be looking to snap three-game losing streaks and the Revs are on a four-game winless run (0-3-1). The Revs didn’t play last weekend while Orlando City finally had a “normal” game week, having gone since Sunday without a match.
The Lions are 2-2-3 in the all-time series against New England and 2-0-2 at home. The most recent meeting saw Orlando City light up the scoreboard in a 6-1 demolition of 10-man New England last Sept. 27. Kaká scored a brace, with Dom Dwyer getting his first home goal and Yoshimar 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 Teal 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 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 kick and Molino scored in the 92nd minute. Between those two goals, Bunbury scored off a corner that appeared to be 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 Juan 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 is still free falling, having lost 12 of 13 MLS games The Lions keep finding a variety of ways to lose — shootouts, hitting the woodwork all night, etc. — but the losses are racking up and it’s not a stretch to say that unless things change right now the team will again finish with a club low in points. We’ve all seen a more threatening looking club under James O’Connor but results must come for the first-year MLS coach. Better performances alone won’t cut it.
New England has remained above the playoff line thus far by merely not losing. That’s not to say they’ve won a lot of games. The Revolution are grinding out draws — seven of them so far this year — which is keeping the team in contention. It’s where Orlando could be if it had found a way to turn six of its losses into draws. Brad Friedel has given confidence and a sense of professionalism to a team that many thought would finish near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
The guy Orlando must keep in check is Cristian Penilla. Quietly one of the best signings in MLS this season, Penilla has eight goals and five assists in 20 matches since his arrival. Penilla likes to pressure the fullbacks and can either score himself or set up others. This could pose problems for the Lions, who have struggled defensively at both fullback positions in 2018, although the return of Scott Sutter could help quite a bit with that. Penilla pops up on both sides of the formation, so whoever plays left back must stay focused for 90 minutes.
The Lions must also put pressure on a back line that has been inconsistent this season, so the lads in purple must control the midfield and build up cogent attacks that lead to quality scoring chances. That seems simple, but Orlando’s offense has disappeared at times this season.
Jonathan Spector (hamstring) and Lamine Sané (quad) are still out for Orlando, while Uri Rosell has picked up an unspecified knock and hasn’t dressed the last two games. He also hasn’t appeared on the MLS injury report. Shane O’Neill returns from his red card suspension. New England’s injury list shows only Chris Tierney (torn ACL) as out for the Revs.
New England has recently signed a pair of internationals in this transfer window, bringing on former Nottingham Forest defender Michael Mancienne and Bolivian midfielder Cristhian Machado recently, but I honestly couldn’t tell you if they’ll be available for Saturday. Mancienne was just announced earlier today. Machado was announced on July 23.
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 and we spoke with Jake about the game.
- Our Ben Miller writes that both Orlando City and New England are desperate for the victory on Saturday.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Earl Edwards Jr.
Defenders: PC, Amro Tarek, Shane O’Neill, Scott Sutter.
Defensive Midfielders: Tony Rocha, Cristian Higuita.
Attacking Midfielders: Mohamed El-Munir, Sacha Kljestan, Yoshimar Yotún.
Forward: Dom Dwyer.
Bench: Joe Bendik, Donny Toia, Chris Schuler, Will Johnson, Stefano Pinho, Josué Colmán, Chris Mueller.
New England Revolution (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Matt Turner.
Defenders: Brandon Bye, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Jalil Anibaba, Andrew Farrell.
Defensive Midfielders: Luis Caicedo, Wilfried Zahibo,
Attacking Midfielders: Diego Fagundez, Scott Caldwell, Cristian Penilla.
Forward: Juan Agudelo.
Bench: Brad Knighton, Gabriel Somi, Krisztián Németh, Zachary Herivaux, Brian Wright, Cristhian Machado, Teal Bunbury.
Ref: Chico Grajeda.
AR1: Logan Brown.
AR2: Andrew Bigelow.
4th: Rosendo Mendoza.
VAR: Rubiel Vazquez.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: WRDQ TV27.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: ESPN+, YouTube TV.
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go City!