Welcome to your match thread and preview for a Saturday afternoon match-up between Orlando City (3-0-3, 12 points) and the New York Red Bulls (2-4-0, 6 points) at Red Bull Arena (1 p.m., FOX 35 Plus). This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals in 2021, with the return fixture set for July 3 at Exploria Stadium.
The Lions are on their longest unbeaten streak in the team’s MLS era to start a season, at six games, and are on the road for just the third time in 2021. New York returns from a two-game road swing on which the Red Bulls went 0-2-0 with losses at Philadelphia (1-0) and New England (3-1).
Today marks Orlando City’s 200th regular-season MLS match and the teams will be wearing their PRIMEBLUE Parley kits, so they’re going to look a bit different.
The Lions are 5-6-2 in 13 meetings with the Red Bulls in the all-time series, with a 2-4-1 mark at Red Bull Arena. The last meeting in the series took place at RBA on Oct. 18, 202, with Brian White equalizing deep in stoppage time in a 1-1 draw. Nani had put the Lions ahead in the second half with a penalty kick goal and Orlando clinched its first ever MLS playoff spot despite spilling those late two points. That was the last match in the club’s record 12-match unbeaten streak in MLS play.
Orlando got the better of New York at Exploria Stadium on Oct. 3, 2020, winning 3-1 on goals by Daryl Dike, Junior Urso, and Antonio Carlos. Florian Valot scored for New York.
The Red Bulls won 1-0 at Exploria Stadium on July 21, 2019. White’s goal stood up as Carlos Ascues, Tesho Akindele, and Sacha Kljestan each hit the woodwork in the second half. Prior to that, the Lions eked out a 1-0 win at Red Bull Arena on Kljestan’s goal on March 23, 2019. Before that game the home team had won each of the previous five home games in the series, splitting a pair of matches during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The Red Bulls grabbed a 1-0 result in the 2018 season finale to capture the Supporters’ Shield. It kicked off three consecutive 1-0 matches but the games used to be a bit more high scoring.
Prior to the 2018 finale, the clubs met in Orlando on March 31, 2018. 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. Valot, Derrick Etienne, and Aaron Long scored for New York.
The teams 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 behind a Cyle Larin hat trick.
Teenage sensation Caden Clark has been the Red Bulls’ danger man so far in 2021, as the midfielder is leading New York with three goals. Midfielder Cristian Casseres, Jr. is second, with two. The Red Bulls are hoping to get new additions Patryk Klimala and Fábio Gomes Netto going offensively, although Fábio has served as the team’s best set-up man, with a team-high four assists.
With the Red Bulls, the faces may change but the team does not. New York seems to prefer a 4-4-2 diamond these days but the Red Bulls will continue to press high, look to force turnovers, and try to create overloads and odd-man situations in the attacking third. Lazy or off-line passes by Orlando’s back line or midfield will be punished.
“A good opportunity for the group to keep being solid defensively, but at the same time trying to increase our goals,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said of today’s match. “I think we’re doing a good job of creating sequences and actions to score, but see if we can be more precise at the end.”
Orlando City will have a makeshift defense again with Ruan joining Alexandre Pato and Uri Rosell among those listed as out for this match — all with lower body injuries (insert joke here). Joao Moutinho continues to be listed as questionable with a lower body injury and Pareja said he’d make a decision on his participation on Friday. Pareja said Ruan’s participation would depend on how he feels (so the injury report could change). Nani will serve the second game of his ridiculous suspension.
As of Friday morning, New York listed Aaron Long (Achilles), Youba Diarra (hamstring), and Florian Valot (knee) as out, while Andrew Gutman (hip) was listed as questionable. Central defender Andrés Reyes is suspended after getting two yellow cards in a seven-minute span last week so former Lion Amro Tarek may get the start on the back line.
Mandatory Match Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides more information on the New York Red Bulls from Ben Cork of SBNation’s Once a Metro.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions for today’s match, as well as our talk with Once a Metro’s Ben Cork, who provides more insight on the Red Bulls.
- Dave Rohe outlined his three keys to victory for Orlando City in this match.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Michael Halliday.
Defensive Midfielders: Junior Urso, Sebas Mendez.
Attacking Midfielders: Chris Mueller, Mauricio Pereyra, Andres Perea.
Forward: Tesho Akindele.
Bench: Brandon Austin, Joao Moutinho, Rio Hope-Gund, Joey DeZart, David Loera, Alexander Alvarado, Silvester van der Water, Benji Michel, Matheus Aias.
New York Red Bulls (4-4-2 Diamond)
Goalkeeper: Carlos Coronel.
Defenders: Kyle Duncan, John Tolkin, Sean Nealis, Tom Edwards.
Midfielders: Sean Davis, Caden Clark, Cristian Casseres Jr., Frankie Amaya.
Forwards: Patryk Klimala, Daniel Royer.
Bench: Ryan Meara, Amro Tarek, Dru Yearwood, Wikelman Carmona, Omir Fernandez, Cameron Harper, Brian White, Tom Barlow, Fábio Gomes Netto.
Ref: Ismail Elfath.
AR1: Corey Parker.
AR2: Kyle Atkins.
4th: Joshua Encarnacion.
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic.
AVAR: Brian Dunn.
How to Watch
Match Time: 1 p.m. ET.
Venue: Red Bull Arena — Harrison, NJ.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market only) and on the LionNation app.
Enjoy the match. Go City!
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