Welcome to your match thread for today's match-up between Orlando City (2-2-2, 8 points) and Real Salt Lake (1-4-1, 4 points) at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, UT. It’s the only meeting of the season between these two teams from opposite conferences.
The Lions are coming off a win over the Colorado Rapids at home last weekend — the team’s first home victory of 2019. A win over RSL would give the Lions consecutive victories for the first time this season. Real Salt Lake has lost four consecutive games but three of those were on the roads against top competition and the Utah side has seen four players sent off in three of those matches. Mike Petke’s side is 1-1-0 at home in 2019 with a win over Vancouver and a loss to FC Dallas.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
The Lions are 2-0-2 against RSL in the series since the club joined MLS, having won the last two meetings. Orlando City is 1-0-1 at Rio Tinto. Last year’s meeting in Orlando was a wild, 3-1 win for the Lions in which RSL missed multiple good scoring chances, hitting the woodwork and forcing Joe Bendik into some big saves. Dom Dwyer, Lamine Sané, and Yoshimar Yotún provided Orlando’s offense to offset Corey Baird’s early strike.
In the last trip to Rio Tinto, Will Johnson provided all the offense against his old club in a 1-0 Orlando City victory. Johnson’s tally in the 17th minute was all Orlando City needed to take the first win of the series after two draws the previous two seasons.
In 2016, you’ll recall the Lions roared back with a frantic rally on opening day, with Cyle Larin and Adrian Winter pulling City level in a 2-2 draw at the Citrus Bowl. Joao Plata scored both RSL goals — one from the penalty spot — and RSL led 2-0 despite going down a man for 25 minutes, prior to Chris Penso evening things out by sending off Darwin Ceren.
Orlando drew 1-1 on the road in 2015 while down to 10 men after Kaká was sent off at the end of the first half. The captain opened the scoring. Sebastian Jaime found the equalizer in the 28th.
Orlando City hasn’t put together consecutive wins in 2019 but the Lions have won two of their last three matches, played well enough to take something out of the loss in that span, and is 1-0-1 on the road this season. Orlando has been better defensively away from Orlando City Stadium, allowing just one goal in two prior road matches.
Real Salt Lake has had two primary issues during 2019 in general and its current four-game skid in particular — scoring goals and getting players sent off. RSL has had four players sent off in three of the four losses and has scored only five goals (while conceding 13) in six games. While that’s only two more goals conceded than Orlando, it’s also five fewer goals scored than the Lions. This is despite having some outstanding offensive players on the roster, such as Joao Plata, Demir Kreilach, Albert Rusnak, and Baird, last year’s MLS Rookie of the Year.
The Lions haven’t generated many scoring chances on the road in 2019 and Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando isn’t an easy man to beat, so Orlando will need to find ways to break down the RSL back line. Veteran Kyle Beckerman will sit deep and try to shield the defense, as he’s done well throughout his career.
Orlando City will still be missing defenders Alex De John and Carlos Ascues, who are both out with hamstring issues. Former RSL midfielder Johnson should be nearing his return from concussion protocol and could feature in this match.
Real Salt Lake’s injury report shows midfielder Jordan Allen (knee) out for the season and defender Erik Holt (ankle) is also out. Defenders Tony Beltran (knee) and Adam Henley (ankle) are questionable, while defender Justen Glad (toe) and forward Plata (ankle) are probable.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides more info about Real Salt Lake from editor Lucas Muller of SB Nation’s RSL blog, RSL Soapbox.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and predictions for the match.
Orlando City (3-5-2)
Goalkeeper: Brian Rowe.
Defenders: Kamal Miller, Robin Jansson, Shane O’Neill.
Wingbacks/Midfielders: Joao Moutinho, Will Johnson, Sacha Kljestan, Sebas Mendez, Ruan.
Forwards: Tesho Akindele, Chris Mueller.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Kyle Smith, Oriol Rosell, Josué Colmán, Benji Michel, Nani, Dom Dwyer.
Real Salt Lake (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando.
Defenders: Aaron Herrera, Nedum Onuoha, Justen Glad, Donny Toia.
Defensive Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman, Everton Luiz.
Attacking Midfielders: Jefferson Savarino, Albert Rusnak, Demir Kreilach.
Forward: Sam Johnson.
Bench: Andrew Putna, Brooks Lennon, Justin Portillo, Sebastián Saucedo, Nick Besler, Corey Baird, Joao Plata.
Ref: Christopher Penso.
AR1: Nick Uranga.
AR2: Frank Anderson.
4th: Ismir Pekmic.
VAR: Ricardo Salazar.
AVAR: Jozef Batko.
How to Watch
Match Time: 9 p.m. ET.
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium — Sandy, UT.
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!