Welcome to your match thread and preview for a Sunday night match-up between Orlando City (7-9-5, 26 points) and the New York Red Bulls (9-8-4, 31 points) at Exploria Stadium. This is the second of the two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals in 2019 and the only one in Orlando.
The Lions are obviously still in the midst of an incredibly busy schedule, having returned from Portland after playing late Thursday night out west. New York played on the road as well in the midweek, but it was a much shorter trip to Toronto and that match was Wednesday night.
The Lions are 4-5-1 in 10 meetings with the Red Bulls in the all-time series, with a 2-1-1 mark at home against New York. Prior to the Lions eking out a 1-0 win at Red Bull Arena on Sacha Kljestan’s goal back on March 23, the home team had won each of the last five home games in the series, splitting a pair of matches the last two seasons.
The Red Bulls grabbed a 1-0 result in last year’s season finale to capture the Supporters’ Shield. Prior to the 2018 finale, the clubs 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 a regular call-up with the USMNT.
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 prior to March — behind a Cyle Larin hat trick.
Kljestan played three seasons for New York prior to joining the Lions, racking up 16 goals and 51 assists. On the other side, defender Amro Tarek played in 2018 for Orlando City. Tarek, who scored one goal in 20 appearances as a Lion, played quite well in the earlier meeting this season and helped prevent Orlando from winning by more than one goal with some timely blocks and tackles.
Don’t let New York’s 2-5-3 road record fool you. After all, Orlando has been one of the league’s worst home teams in 2019 (4-5-1) and the visitors are always a dangerous attacking team.
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 Dom Dwyer after his red card suspension for an elbow against Columbus defender Josh Williams was extended. Cristian Higuita (hamstring) and Shane O’Neill (concussion protocol) are not expected to play and Alex De John, though not on the July 19 update to the MLS Injury Report, was also being looked at for a possible concussion.
New York is without Florian Valot, who tore his ACL for the second time in as many years. Valot was the only player listed on New York’s injury report.
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 tonight’s match. Don’t use these predictions for wagering (do yourself a favor).
Orlando City (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Brian Rowe.
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Ruan.
Midfielders: Will Johnson, Sebas Mendez, Carlos Ascues.
Forwards: Nani, Tesho Akindele, Chris Mueller.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Kyle Smith, Kamal Miller, Uri Rosell, Sacha Kljestan, Robinho, Santiago Patino.
New York Red Bulls (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Luis Robles.
Defenders: Tim Parker, Amro Tarek, Aaron Long, Michael Murillo.
Defensive Midfielders: Cristian Cásseres, Jr., Sean Davis.
Attacking Midfielders: Daniel Royer, Kaku, Derrick Etienne.
Forward: Brian White.
Bench: Ryan Meara, Connor Lade, Marc Rzatkowski, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Tom Barlow, Andreas Ivan, Omir Fernandez.
Ref: Armando Villarreal.
AR1: Logan Brown.
AR2: Gjovalin Bori.
4th: Sergii Demianchuk.
VAR: Rosendo Mendoza.
AVAR: Jeff Muschik.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando, FL.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish).
Streaming: FOX Sports GO, .
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go City!