Welcome to your match thread and preview for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (0-1-2, 2 points) and the New York Red Bulls (1-0-1, 4 points) at Red Bull Arena. This is the first of the two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals in 2019, with the Red Bulls making the return trip to Orlando on July 21.
The Lions have played only once on the road to date and eked out a 1-1 draw at Chicago after coming within seconds of their first win of the year. The fact that the Lions managed only two shot attempts on the day is a bit worrisome, but the team played a good road match and will need to play even better to get a result at Red Bull Arena.
The Lions are 3-5-1 in nine meetings with the Red Bulls in the all-time series, but just 1-4-0 in five matches at Red Bull Arena. New York has won the last four at home in the series, out-scoring Orlando at a 9-3 clip with a pair of clean sheets, including a 1-0 result in last year’s season finale to capture the Supporters’ Shield.
The home team has won each of the last five home games in the series, splitting a pair of matches the last two seasons. Prior to the 2018 finale, the teams met in Orlando last year on March 31, with both teams featuring different head coaches than they have now. The Lions pulled off a 4-3 home victory. Dom Dwyer marked his season debut with a brace and Will Johnson and Josué Colmán added goals to lift Orlando — the latter actually was a shot by Scott Sutter that went off the Paraguayan’s back. Florian Valot, Derrick Etienne, and Aaron Long scored for New York. It was a lineup that many considered the Red Bulls’ B team since New York was engrossed in a Concacaf Champions League campaign at the time, but all of the goal scorers turned into important players for RBNY during the 2018 season and Long has been getting looks from the USMNT, including his current call-up by Gregg Berhalter.
The teams have played twice per year the last two seasons, but met three times in 2016, with New York going 2-0-1. The teams split two games in 2015 with the road team winning both times, including Orlando City’s 5-2 win in New Jersey — the Lions’ only road win against the Red Bulls to date — behind a Cyle Larin hat trick.
Sacha Kljestan returns to Red Bull Arena, where he played for three seasons, racking up 16 goals and 51 assists. On the other side, defender Amro Tarek will face Orlando City for the first time, after spending 2018 in purple, scoring one goal in 20 appearances.
With the Red Bulls, the faces may change but the team does not. New York is both talented and deep, with quality at every position group. They’ll press high, look to force turnovers, and try to create overloads and odd-man situations. Alex Muyl, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Daniel Royer, Derrick Etienne, and others can get forward and put the ball in the net. Lazy or off-line passes by Orlando’s back line or midfield will be punished with extreme prejudice.
The Lions will be without several players. Sebas Mendez and Kamal Miller are with their national teams, which is where Will Johnson would be if not for sustaining a concussion last Saturday against Montreal. Joining Johnson on the injury list is Tesho Akindele (hamstring). Lamine Sané (calf) is nearing a return but may need another week or two to gain fitness. Robin Jansson was out of the country to finalize international paperwork as of this writing, but James O’Connor said he was hopeful he’d be available ahead of Saturday. Cam Lindley is with the U.S. U-23 team.
New York is without Florian Valot, who tore his ACL for the second time in as many years. Brian White (hamstring) and Kemar Lawrence (undisclosed injury) are listed as probable, but Lawrence reportedly joined Jamaica for Concacaf Nations League qualifying. Long, as mentioned above, is with the USMNT.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more on the New York Red Bulls from Dan Feuerstein from SB Nation’s Once a Metro and the Feuerstein’s Fire podcast.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions for Saturday’s match and our exclusive interview with Orlando SeaWolves forward Gordy Gurson.
- Ben Miller has his three keys to an Orlando City victory.
Orlando City (3-5-2)
Goalkeeper: Brian Rowe.
Defenders: Robin Jansson, Alex De John, Shane O’Neill.
Wingbacks / Midfielders: Joao Moutinho, Carlos Ascues, Sacha Kljestan, Uri Rosell, Ruan.
Forwards: Nani, Santiago Patino.
Bench: Greg Ranjitsingh, Kyle Smith, Lamine Sané, Cristian Higuita, Chris Mueller, Dom Dwyer, Benji Michel.
New York Red Bulls (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Luis Robles.
Defenders: Kyle Duncan, Amro Tarek, Tim Parker, Connor Lade.
Defensive Midfielders: Marc Rzatkowski, Sean Davis.
Attacking Midfielders: Daniel Royer, Vincent Bezecourt, Alex Muyl.
Forward: Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Bench: Ryan Meara, Sean Nealis, Omir Fernandez, Cristian Cásseres, Jr., Andreas Ivan, Brian White, Mathias Jørgensen.
Ref: Allen Chapman.
AR1: Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho.
AR2: Mike Rottersman.
4th: Nima Saghafi.
VAR: Alejandro Mariscal.
AVAR: Logan Brown.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Red Bull Arena — Harrison, NJ.
TV: My65 (local only).
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: ESPN+, YouTube TV.
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Enjoy the match! Go City!