Welcome to your match thread for a midweek match-up between Orlando City (8-11-6, 30 points) and Sporting Kansas City (7-10-7, 28 points) at Exploria Stadium. It’s the only scheduled meeting in this cross-conference series for 2019.
The Lions enter tonight in ninth place in the Eastern Conference, just four points out of a playoff spot (three points would equal Montreal but the Impact hold the first tiebreaker with more wins). Sporting is 10th in the West.
Orlando City is 1-2-1 in the all-time series (1-0-1 at home). The most recent meeting resulted in a 1-0 SKC victory at Children’s Mercy Park on Sept. 8 of last year. Felipe Gutierrez provided the only goal in Dom Dwyer’s return to Kansas City. It was a rough outing for Dwyer, who missed two golden opportunities to score and perhaps that’s when his current form began, as he scored only one more goal the rest of 2018.
Sporting is the first MLS team to come into Exploria Stadium (then known as Orlando City Stadium) and take any points in a 2-2 draw in 2017. Latif Blessing scored both SKC goals in the first non-win for the Lions in their new stadium. That non-win happened because the assistant referee ruled that Will Johnson’s corner kick service curled over the end line in the air before Jose Aja had headed it home for an apparent go-ahead goal. Cyle Larin and Kaká scored Orlando’s goals that counted.
In 2016, the Lions went into Children’s Mercy Park and gave up an incredible 34 shots en route to a 2-1 loss in Kansas City. With that many shots, it was a minor miracle to escape without a more lopsided score line. At the time, Sporting put up the third-most shots ever in a regular season MLS game and the most since 1998. David Mateos nodded in off Jimmy Medranda for an own goal to get the Lions on the board with an improbable lead. Joe Bendik made 10 saves but conceded goals to Dwyer (74’) and Jacob Peterson (79’) five minutes apart, as SKC came from behind to win.
The Lions captured the first meeting, 3-1 at home on Sept. 13, 2015. That win snapped a seven-game winless skid at the time and kicked off a club record five-game winning streak. Adrian Winter started the party with a third-minute goal and added another in the 72nd to seal it. After Krisztian Nemeth had equalized in the 59th, Bryan Rochez put Orlando back on top for good with his first MLS goal in the 66th minute.
The Lions are unbeaten in their last two league games (1-0-1) with a win over FC Dallas and a draw at Toronto FC. Orlando hasn’t been good enough at home, however, with just a 5-6-1 mark in the purple palace.
Sporting Kansas City won its most recent road match at Seattle on Aug. 4 and is 3-5-4 on the road, finding way to scratch out road results in much the same way Orlando has this season. However, Sporting has lost three of its last four matches, including at home to Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
SKC will head back home to play San Jose this weekend so we may see the visitors employ a bit of squad rotation even though teams don’t really seem to do that against Orlando as much as we expect they will. With Nemeth (out — abdominal injury) and Gerso Fernandes (questionable — ankle) picking up recent knocks, the Lions may have to pay the most attention to Erik Hurtado and Johnny Russell. Orlando’s central midfield will need to keep an eye on Ilie Sanchez, who can either score on his own or set up others.
Also missing for Sporting Kansas City will be the suspended Daniel Salloi (red card) and the injured Rodney Wallace (hip surgery), Cameron Duke (hamstring), Adrian Zendejas (back), and Botond Barath (back). We’re also hearing that Yohan Croizet did not make the trip to Orlando, possibly to rest for this weekend’s game.
Orlando City will be without the hamstring brigade. Cristian Higuita and starting fullbacks Joao Moutinho and Ruan are all listed out with hamstring issues. New coach, new trainer, same old hamstring problems.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report has more information about Sporting with the help from Cody Bradley of SB Nation’s Kansas City blog, The Blue Testament.
- This week's PawedCast got ruined due to technology malfunction, so...yeah. I predicted a 1-1 draw tonight and said the key match-up was Orlando’s attacking players against Tim Melia. I forget what Dave said. At least I was able to salvage our interview with former Lion Jamie Watson (now a Minnesota United broadcaster) ahead of Orlando City’s trip to play the Loons.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Brian Rowe.
Defenders: Kamal Miller, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Kyle Smith.
Defensive Midfielders: Uri Rosell, Carlos Ascues.
Attacking Midfielders: Chris Mueller, Nani, Tesho Akindele.
Forwards: Dom Dwyer.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Alex De John, Shane O’Neill, Dillon Powers, Benji Michel, Sacha Kljestan, Santiago Patino.
Sporting Kansas City (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Tim Melia.
Defenders: Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Graham Smith, Graham Zusi.
Midfielders: Felipe Gutierrez, Ilie, Roger Espinoza.
Forwards: Gianluca Busio, Jimmy Medranda, Johnny Russell.
Bench: Eric Dick, Nicolas Hasler, Andreu Fontàs, Luis Martins, Benny Feilhaber, Wan Kuzain, Erik Hurtado.
Ref: Robert Sibiga.
AR1: Frank Anderson.
AR2: Eduardo Mariscal.
4th: Marcos DeOliveira.
VAR: Ricardo Salazar.
AVAR: Kyle Longville.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: My65 (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Acción 97.9 FM (Spanish), 810 AM.
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ and YouTube TV.
Match Thread Rules
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Enjoy the match! Go City!
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