Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (5-8-3, 18 points) and the Columbus Crew (5-10-2, 17 points). This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals in 2019, with the return leg in Orlando taking place two weeks from today.
The Lions are 2-5-3 in the all-time series but have never won in Columbus (0-3-1). The last meeting between the two teams took place last Oct. 21, with Orlando winning 2-1 on a pair of penalty kick goals. Yoshimar Yotún and Sacha Kljestan provided the spot kicks to offset Federico Higuain’s opening goal.
There should be an additional win — or at least a draw — in the Orlando City column in this series after an absolutely horror call by Silviu Petrescu in the 88th minute that gave Columbus an equalizer from the penalty spot on July 21 of last year. Wil Trapp then scored the kind of goal he’ll probably never score again in stoppage time to lift the Crew to a 3-2 victory in a game the Lions had stolen away on a call that Petrescu’s own organization said was an error.
In Kaká’s final game in purple, the teams met at the end of the 2017 season with Columbus winning 1-0 on Ola Kamara’s second-half goal. The teams drew 1-1 in Orlando on Aug. 19 of 2017. Lalas Abubakar scored to put Columbus ahead in the 35th minute, but Giles Barnes equalized in the 67th. In the first meeting of 2017, Justin Meram scored both goals for the Crew in a 2-0 Columbus win.
The Lions were 0-1-1 against Columbus in 2016. The last meeting in Camping World Stadium saw the Crew beat down the Lions, 4-1. Ethan Finlay and Kamara (with a brace) powered the Crew, who also got a Seb Hines own goal, to more than offset Cyle Larin’s goal. The teams drew 2-2 in Ohio on July 23. Tony Tchani and Kamara (penalty kick in the sixth minute of first-half stoppage) put the Crew up, 2-0, while Kevin Molino and Larin led Orlando back for interim coach Bobby Murphy.
The first ever meeting in 2015 was marred by a Rafael Ramos red card as the Crew won in Columbus, 3-0. The teams drew 2-2 in May of that year and Orlando got its first league win against the Crew in a 5-2 demolition of Columbus that August.
Orlando is coming off a 1-0 loss at D.C. United on Wednesday, allowing yet another goal to add to the Wayne Rooney highlight reel. The Lions must love getting posterized by Rooney, because he is three-for-three. That snapped a three-match winning streak in all competitions, in which Orlando had outscored its opposition, 8-2, and dropped the Lions to 2-4-2 on the road in league play this season.
This will be Orlando’s first look at the Crew under Caleb Porter, but it’s been a rocky season to date for the former Portland manager. Columbus is 4-4-2 at home this season, but the team is on a 1-9-1 run over its last 11 games, including a five-match winless streak (0-4-1). If that sounds familiar, it’s because D.C. was also on a five-game winless run (0-1-4) entering Wednesday’s game. So, good news, Crew fans! Orlando loves to snap everyone’s run of poor form but its own.
The Lions are without striker Dom Dwyer, who stayed home to be with his wife, who gave birth to the couple’s second child on Friday. There are still some guys out on international duty, and a few injuries: Cristian Higuita (hamstring) is out, while Adam Grinwis (quad) and Joao Moutinho (quad) are both listed as questionable. I’m not sure if either traveled, so expect the worst where Moutinho’s concerned and if you see him on the field tonight, rejoice accordingly.
The Crew’s report shows a few serious injuries, including Higuain (ACL), Milton Valenzuela (ACL) Josh Williams (foot), and David Accam (hamstring), who are all out. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen is now a Manchester City prospect, while Trapp and Zardes are with Steffen on the U.S. Gold Cup roster. Jonathan Mensah is currently with the Ghanaian National Team and Harrison Afful is on suspension.
Mandatory Match #Content
Here's your mandatory match content to prepare you for the game:
- Our Intelligence Report provides more info about Columbus with the help from Patrick Murphy of SB Nation’s Crew SC blog, Massive Report.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions. I’m telling you right now we were too optimistic.
Orlando City (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Brian Rowe.
Defenders: Danilo Acosta, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Kyle Smith.
Midfielders: Dillon Powers, Uri Rosell, Sacha Kljestan.
Forwards: Nani, Tesho Akindele, Chris Mueller.
Bench: Greg Ranjitsingh, Ruan, Shane O’Neill, Alex De John, Carlos Ascues, Benji Michel, Santiago Patino.
Columbus Crew (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Jon Kempin.
Defenders: Waylon Francis, Gaston Sauro, Alex Crognale, Hector Jimenez.
Defensive Midfielders: Artur, David Guzman.
Attacking Midfielders: Robinho, Pedro Santos, Luis Argudo.
Forward: J.J. Williams.
Bench: Joe Bendik, Connor Maloney, Aboubacar Keita, Ricardo Clark, Eduardo Sosa, Niko Hansen, Patrick Mullins.
Ref: Rubiel Vazquez.
AR1: Andrew Bigelow.
AR2: Logan Brown.
4th: Luis Guardia.
VAR: Younes Marrakchi.
AVAR: Cameron Blanchard.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Venue: Mapfre Stadium — Columbus, OH.
TV: My65 (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!