Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (7-18-3, 24 points) and the Houston Dynamo (8-13-7, 31 points) at Orlando City Stadium. It’s the only scheduled meeting in this cross-conference series scheduled for 2018 and it should be a barn burner, since both clubs are double digit points below the playoff line in their respective conferences.
Orlando City is 1-1-1 in the all-time series (0-0-1 at home). The Lions went to BBVA Compass Stadium last year and were wiped off the field, 4-0. A leggy Orlando team flew directly to Houston from Toronto after a hard-fought game against the Reds and saw the rested Dynamo’s speed on full display. Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas (twice), and Romell Quioto provided the goals and it honestly could have been worse.
The last time the Lions and Dynamo met in Orlando, the teams drew, 0-0, in what was a pretty forgettable game under Bobby Murphy, who was serving his first stint as Orlando City’s interim coach following the firing of Adrian Heath. In the first meeting, back in 2015, the Lions went to Texas and came home with a 1-0 victory in Houston. Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric — under extreme pressure from Pedro Ribeiro — punched the ball into the back of his own net for the only goal of the match. That was Orlando City’s first MLS victory.
So, to review, Orlando City has played Houston three times and only a Dynamo player has scored for the Lions in those three matches. Splendid.
Orlando City is up to 19 games with only one win (1-16-2) as this agonizing summer stretches on and on. It really shouldn’t even be possible for a team to have this record of futility but here we are. The Lions haven’t won any of their last nine (0-7-2) and are 0-2-2 in their last four home matches. Look, I’m not trying to be negative here. These are just straight facts and statistics.
Houston enters the weekend in ninth place in the Western Conference with a 1-8-4 road record in 2018. The Dynamo crushed Portland last weekend at home, 4-1, snapping a winless skid that had reached 10 games (0-7-3). I wonder what it feels like to emphatically break out of a long slump with a dominating performance that way.
I don’t expect any different tactics from Houston that we saw last year. The Dynamo will attack with speed up the flanks and good runs and movement in the middle of the pitch will open things up for the offense. If Orlando is careless in the middle of the pitch or doesn’t defend in numbers, Houston could cruise again. This is precisely the type of attack that the Lions have had the most trouble against over the last couple of years.
Manotas and Elis are both double-figure goal scorers this season, with 14 and 11, respectively. Quioto is the setup man, with 11 assists to go with his four goals in 2018. That’s as lethal an attacking trio as just about any in MLS. Orlando must be organized defensively, but there should be opportunities to score. Houston has shipped 43 goals this season. I don’t have to tell you who has shipped the most. All of that said, the Dynamo do have a U.S. Open Cup match coming up, so it’s possible they’ll rest some starters.
Orlando City is relatively healthy, with Cristian Higuita (calf) and Lamine Sané (quad) both day-to-day and Chris Schuler (groin) out. In addition, little-used Jose Villareal is dealing with an ankle injury. Houston is also pretty healthy, with A.J. DeLaGarza (torn left ACL) and Mac Steeves (left hip injury) listed as out, although the former has been working his way back recently.
Hey, we might get to see old friend Darwin Ceren in this match, as he’s made 19 appearances (15 starts) with the Dynamo this season. Former Lion Luis Gil is also with Houston.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides more insight about the Dynamo with the help from Derek Stowers of SB Nation’s Houston FC blog, Dynamo Theory.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions, plus a lot of angst about last weekend’s debacle in Chicago. Perfect show for the emo Orlando City fan.
- Our Scott Carnevale talks about the lineup he’d like to see James O’Connor use in this match.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Adam Grinwis.
Defenders: Mohamed El-Munir, Lamine Sané, Jonathan Spector, Scott Sutter.
Defensive Midfielders: Oriol Rosell, Carlos Ascues.
Attacking Midfielders: Yoshimar Yotún, Sacha Kljestan, Will Johnson.
Forwards: Dom Dwyer.
Bench: Joe Bendik, RJ Allen, Shane O’Neill,Pierre Da Silva, Chris Mueller, Stefano Pinho. Josué Colmán.
Houston Dynamo (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Joe Willis.
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Kevin Garcia, Andrew Wenger.
Defensive Midfielders: Darwin Ceren, Juan Cabezas.
Attacking Midfielders: Romell Quioto, Tomás Martínez, Alberth Elis.
Forwards: Mauro Manotas,
Bench: Tyler Deric, Adolpho Machado, Adam Lundqvist, Arturo Álvarez, Óscar Boniek García, Memo Rodriguez, Ronaldo Pena.
Ref: Baldomero Toledo.
AR1: Frank Anderson.
AR2: Corey Parker.
4th: Sorin Stoica.
VAR: Younes Marrakchi.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: WRDQ TV 27 (local only).
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!