Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (9-11-6, 33 points) and Minnesota United (12-8-5, 41 points) at Allianz Field. It’s just the third meeting between the two sides and the only scheduled match-up between these cross-conference teams this season.
The Lions are coming off a 1-0 home win over Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday and the Loons won at home by the same score against Colorado in their midweek clash.
Obviously there are story lines. James O’Connor will face his former coach at Orlando City, Adrian Heath. The Lions will not only be facing the guy who held the reins in Orlando from 2011 to 2016, but also original Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino.
Heath is 2-0-0 against his old team, having won this fixture 1-0 in Minnesota in 2017 on a Christian Ramirez goal, then returning to the City Beautiful last year in triumph, winning 2-1. Ethan Finlay scored both Minnesota goals to offset Yoshimar Yotún’s penalty kick goal.
Unfortunately, Molino tore his ACL in that match in Orlando. He’s returned to the pitch since then, even getting a call up to the Trinidad & Tobago National Team for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup. He’ll be ready to face his old team.
Oh, and let’s not forget Minnesota assistant coaches Ian Fuller and Mark Watson both held that role with the Lions (and Fuller played with the club in the USL days).
City is 3-5-5 on the road in 2019, having done well to grind out some away results, although not many wins. Orlando enters on a modest three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) in its last three league matches, beating two Western Conference teams — FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City — in that run. But the Loons have been nearly spotless at home this year, going 8-1-4 at Allianz Field and Minnesota has lost only one of its last nine games (6-1-2).
Minnesota has a good attacking core led by Darwin Quintero (eight goals, five assists) but that doesn’t mean the Loons can’t defend. They haven’t allowed a goal at home in four games. Off-season acquisitions Ike Opara and Ozzie Alonso have helped shore up Minnesota’s defense. That doesn’t bode well for an Orlando side that has scored more than one goal only once in the last seven outings.
Orlando City will be missing the hamstring brigade — Cristian Higuita, Joao Moutinho, and Ruan. One bit of good news is that Kyle Smith should be OK after receiving six stitches on Wednesday night. He did not sustain a concussion. Will Johnson and Sebas Mendez were held out of the 18 on Wednesday and could be back in the lineup tonight.
Minnesota has no names on the injury report.
Mandatory Match #Content
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more on the Loons from Jacob Schneider from SB Nation’s Minnesota United blog, E Pluribus Loonum.
- This week's PawedCast was ruined by a recording setting but we were able to salvage this interview with former USL Lion Jamie Watson — now a Minnesota United broadcaster — including his thoughts on Heath, Molino, Dom Dwyer, and more.
- Earlier this week I discussed how Heath’s three-year plan is going well in Minnesota after he only got half of that in Orlando.
Orlando City (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Brian Rowe.
Defenders: Kamal Miller, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Kyle Smith.
Midfielders: Will Johnson, Nani, Sebas Mendez.
Forwards: Benji Michel, Dom Dwyer, Robinho
Bench: Greg Ranjitsingh, Shane O’Neill, Alex De John, Sacha Kljestan, Carlos Ascues, Mauricio Pereyra, Tesho Akindele.
Minnesota United FC (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Vito Mannone.
Defenders: Chases Gasper, Michael Boxall, Ike Opara, Romain Metanire.
Defensive Midfielders: Jan Gregus, Hassani Dotson.
Attacking Midfielders: Kevin Molino, Darwin Quintero, Ethan Finlay.
Forwards: Angelo Rodriguez.
Bench: Dayne St. Clair, Brent Kallman, Rasmus Schüller, Lawrence Olum, Robin Lod, Miguel Ibarra, Abu Danladi.
Ref: Jair Marrufo.
AR1: Claudiu Badea.
AR2: Chris Elliott.
4th: Allen Chapman.
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic.
AVAR: Jozef Batko
How to Watch
Match Time: 8 p.m. ET.
Venue: Allianz Field — St. Paul, MN.
TV: My65 (Local only).
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), Acción 97.9 FM (Spanish), 810 AM.
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ and YouTube TV.
Match Thread Rules
This is your live thread for posting comments on the match. So use our comments section below to talk about the game in real time with other supporters. If you’re new, welcome to our happy home! While you’re here, please observe a few basic rules:
- Absolutely no links to illegal streams. They can get us in trouble, and no one wants that.
- Try not to be the person who spews nothing but venom and hate for the team. It’s OK to be critical, and, let’s face it, sometimes even the best teams can be frustrating to watch, but being overly negative relentlessly can sap the enjoyment for others.
- Keep it somewhat clean and fair when criticizing players / officials. You never know who might be reading.
- Do unto others in the match thread, the way you would have others do unto you. We are a fun community and want to keep it this way. We have a moderator, but we’d rather let him enjoy the game instead of having to play babysitter.
Enjoy the match! Go City!
The Mane Land has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though The Mane Land and SB Nation may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our guiding principles.