Welcome to your match thread and preview for Saturday afternoon showdown between Orlando City (0-0-1, 1 point) and the Chicago Fire (0-1-0, 0 points) at SeatGeek Stadium (no really, that’s what it’s called now). This is the first of the two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals and it’s both Chicago’s first home game and the Lions’ first away match of the year. The teams will meet again in Orlando for the regular season finale on Sunday, Oct. 6.
The Lions are 2-3-4 in nine MLS meetings with the Fire, and 2-2-1 on the road (2-3-1 if you count the 2015 U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals match-up). However, both wins for Orlando came on the road back in 2015 and City is 0-2-1 at Chicago since, including embarrassing 4-0 losses there each of the last two seasons. The Lions are 0-3-3 in the last six meetings.
Aleksandar Katai has scored in each of the last two meetings for Chicago, while Nemanja Nikolic has three goals in the last two match-ups in SeatGeek Stadium.
Chicago is coming off a close road loss at the LA Galaxy, but the Fire could have won that match. Former Philadelphia Union striker (and Orlando City nemesis) CJ Sapong stole a wayward back pass from Diego Polenta and put the Fire up in the 49th minute but LA rallied with two goals to win. Still, Chicago peppered the LA goal with 17 shots, but got only five of those on target. The Fire also held more possession and were the more accurate passers on the night. Goalkeeper David Ousted made three saves, including a good stop on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Defender Andre Reynolds II is questionable with a thigh injury but otherwise Chicago seems healthy.
Orlando City drew 2-2 with New York City FC last Saturday in the Lions’ opener, coming back from two goals down to earn a point. It could have potentially been all three points had referee Baldomero Toledo given a seemingly obvious penalty for handball, but...well, you know. Orlando is healthier than last week, with Ruan returning to training after a hamstring issue and Adam Grinwis passing through concussion protocol. Lamine Sané (quad) is week-to-week, so he’s likely out.
James O’Connor said after last week’s match that he was surprised Dom Dwyer and Nani played as many minutes as they did and he’ll be managing their minutes to make sure they don’t try to do too much too soon. The same is likely true of Carlos Ascues and Ruan so I think all of those four players will start the match on the bench.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Ben Miller has Orlando City’s three keys to victory.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions for Saturday’s match, along with an exclusive interview with Orlando center back Kamal Miller, who made his MLS debut last weekend against NYCFC.
- Our Jenn Glasheen tells you the best ways to catch Orlando City road matches.
Orlando City (3-5-2)
Goalkeeper: Brian Rowe.
Defenders: Kamal Miller, Alex De John. Shane O’Neill.
Wingbacks/Midfielders: Danilo Acosta, Sebas Mendez, Sacha Kljestan, Will Johnson, Kyle Smith.
Forwards: Nani, Tesho Akindele.
Bench: Greg Ranjitsingh, Carlos Ascues, Ruan, Uri Rosell, Josué Colmán, Chris Mueller, Dom Dwyer,
Chicago Fire (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: David Ousted.
Defenders: Jorge Corrales, Johan Kappelhof, Marcelo, Diego Campos.
Defensive Midfielders: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Dax McCarty.
Attacking Midfielders: Aleksandar Katai, Djordje Mihailovic, C.J. Sapong.
Forward: Nemanja Nikolic.
Bench: Richard Sánchez, Nicolas Hasler, Grant Lillard, Cristian Martinez, Brandt Bronico, Przemyslaw Frankowski, Fabian Herbers.
Ref: Robert Sibiga.
AR1: Jason White.
AR2: Apolinar Mariscal.
4th: Ramy Touchan.
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez.
AVAR: Peter Manikowski.
How to Watch
Match Time: 1 p.m. ET.
Venue: SeatGeek Stadium — Bridgeview, IL.
TV: My65 (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: YouTube TV, ESPN+. (Both potentially subject to blackout.)
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go City!