Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s match-up between Orlando City (4-2-2, 14 points) and Nashville SC (2-4-1, 7 points) at Nissan Stadium. It’s the Lions’ first trip to Nashville and second meeting ever between the two sides. This 8:30 p.m. match (FOX 35 Plus) will be the second time the teams meet in an eight-day span.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
The Lions are 1-0-0 in the all-time series after last Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Exploria Stadium. Dave Romney had opened the scoring with a header off a free kick but Orlando scored the last three. Rookie Daryl Dike took a star turn for Orlando City, scoring a brace. Chris Mueller also scored for the Lions.
This will be the first meeting between the sides at Nissan Stadium. Orlando’s last trip to Tennessee took place on June 12, 2019, when the Lions won 3-1 at Memphis 901 FC to start their eventual run to the U.S. Open Cup semifinals.
The Lions have won their last two MLS matches by identical 3-1 scorelines, starting with last week vs. Nashville and continuing Saturday afternoon at Atlanta United — the team’s first win against the Five Stripes. Orlando City is 1-2-0 in true road matches in 2020 after the win in Atlanta to go along with losses at Miami and Colorado. That pair of wins marked the first time the Lions had won two straight league games by multiple goals since Oct. 16 and 23 of 2016, when City posted a 2-0 win at Philadelphia and a 4-2 home win over D.C. United, respectively. Orlando did manage back-to-back multi-goal wins last year in June with a 3-0 win at Montreal on June 1 and a 3-1 USOC win at Memphis June 12.
Nashville won its most recent match, defeating Miami 1-0 at home on Sunday night. Anibal Godoy scored the game’s only goal. The team is 1-1-0 at home so far in 2020, losing 2-1 to Atlanta before Sunday’s win over Miami. Nashville continues to be a stingy defensive side, allowing more than a goal in a game only three times in the team’s existence — conceding twice in each of the two previous meetings with Atlanta and a season-high three at Orlando last week. Sunday was Nashville’s third shutout in seven games.
Dike continued his hot streak over the weekend, picking up a secondary assist on a Mueller goal to make it three goals and two assists in three MLS starts. The rookie, who finished third in MLS Player of the Week voting, may get a rest tonight with the matches coming so close together and we could see the return of Tesho Akindele. Mueller, who finished fifth in MLS Player of the Week voting for last week, has notched both a goal and an assist in each of the last two matches and has a three-game assist streak going. He too could be given a rest with Nani and Mauricio Pereyra coming back into the starting XI.
Look for Nashville to be a lot tougher to score on than last week. Orlando struggled early last week to get the ball into the attacking half. Eventually the Lions settled in but I would expect Nashville to do a better job at home in maintaining defensive intensity to win the ball back.
The expansion side has a lot of talented pieces, but sometimes the pieces need time to properly mix together. Individually, there’s quite a bit of quality — David Accam, Dax McCarty, Walker Zimmerman, Daniel Lovitz, Abu Danladi, Dominique Badji, Designated Players Hani Mukhtar and Randall Leal, and newly acquired Alex Muyl, to put a name to some of it.
“Hopefully we can go to Nashville and get another three points for the club,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said Monday. “We analyzed many things that Nashville did well and many things that we needed to improve.”
Orlando City left back Joao Moutinho went down late in Saturday’s match holding his groin area and had to be stretchered off. Pareja said on Monday that Moutinho was feeling much better and walking normally, but the gaffer was noncommittal about the timing of his return, saying they would monitor him and that they hope to have him back soon. Officially he’s listed as questionable, but I would say it’s unlikely he’ll be available because he needs a night off even if he’s able to go. Orlando continues to be without forward Dom Dwyer and it will be an unknown amount of time before Matheus Aias is available, owing to international paperwork, travel, and quarantine protocol. Per mlssoccer.com, Nashville SC will be without the services of defenders Jimmy Medranda (hip) and Ken Tribbett (calf).
Mandatory Match Content
- Last week’s Intelligence Report provides a bit of background on Nashville SC from Ben Wright of Broadway Sports.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and predictions for tonight’s game, as well as Saturday’s match at Atlanta United.
Orlando City (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Kamal Miller, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.
Midfielders: Robinho, Junior Urso, Uri Rosell, Mauricio Pereyra.
Forwards: Daryl Dike, Benji Michel.
Bench: Brian Rowe, Kyle Smith, Alex De John, Rodrigo Schlegel, Joey DeZart, Sebas Mendez, Andres Perea, Chris Mueller, Tesho Akindele.
Nashville SC (4-2-3-1 )
Goalkeeper: Joe Willis.
Defenders: Daniel Lovitz, Dave Romney, Walker Zimmerman, Alistair Johnston.
Defensive Midfielders: Anibal Godoy, Dax McCarty.
Attacking Midfielders: Alex Muyl, Randall Leal, Hany Mukhtar.
Forward: Dominique Badji.
Bench: Elliot Panicco, Jalil Anibaba, Eric Miller, Taylor Washington, Derrick Jones, Tah Anunga, David Accam, Abu Danladi, Daniel Rios.
Ref: Jair Marrufo.
AR1: Kathryn Nesbitt.
AR2: Benjamin Hall-Volpenhein.
4th: Natalie Simon.
VAR: Chris Penso.
AVAR: Jose Da Silva.
How to Watch
Match Time: 8:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Nissan Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English) and Acción 97.9 FM, 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ although it will most likely be blacked out locally as there is still not a local streaming agreement in place.
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Enjoy the game! Go City!