Welcome to your match thread and preview for a Saturday afternoon match-up between Orlando City (6-1-3, 21 points) and the New York Red Bulls (4-5-1, 13 points) at Exploria Stadium (7:30 p.m., FOX 35 Plus). This is the second of the two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals in 2021.
The Lions have won three straight matches since the teams last met, all within a seven-day span last week. Orlando’s most recent victim was Inter Miami in a 2-1 come-from-behind road win last Friday night.
The Lions are 5-7-2 in 13 meetings with the Red Bulls in the all-time series, with a 3-2-1 mark at home. The Red Bulls handed Orlando City its only defeat so far in the 2021 season, a 2-1 affair at Red Bull Arena on May 29 in the team’s first match-up of the season. Nani was suspended for that match and it showed, as the Lions were sloppy in possession and lacked composure on the ball. New York took the lead on goals by Caden Clark and Cristian Casseres Jr., before Silvester van der Water pulled one back late. The Dutchman had a golden opportunity to tie the match moments later but skied his shot well over the bar.
The Lions got a road draw on Oct. 18, 2020, with Brian White equalizing deep in stoppage time in a 1-1 match. 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.
The Lions are 3-0-2 at home this season (4-0-2 in all games at Exploria Stadium), and have won their last two home matches. The Red Bulls are 0-4-1 on the road this season although they did manage their first road point in their most recent outing, a 0-0 draw at Atlanta United last Saturday.
Clark has been the Red Bulls’ danger man so far in 2021, as the teenage midfielder is leading New York with four goals, including his one against Orlando. However, he underwent an appendectomy and isn’t expected to be available. Casseres, Jr. is second, with three, including a free kick golazo against the Lions in the May 29 meeting. The Red Bulls finally got new additions Patryk Klimala and Fábio Gomes Netto going offensively. Each has now scored a goal, with Fábio also serving as the team’s best set-up man, with a team-high five assists.
As I said in the match preview for the May 29 meeting, the faces may change for the Red Bulls, 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 rival...that gave us some difficulties when we played at their place,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said of the Red Bulls. “(It’s) a great opportunity for us to keep adding points, but most importantly getting involved players that have not been with us lately. About the Red Bulls, we know their ways and I’m sure they know ours. We’re aiming to, as always, to be protagonists of the game and be aggressive and a team who is aiming to score goals in the way that we have and bring the victory again. We’re getting ready, but we know the opposition and we know as well that it’s not going to be an easy game.”
Orlando City will be without Ruan (lower body) due to injury and Pedro Gallese and Sebas Mendez due to international duty. Additionally, João Moutinho and Alexandre Pato are both listed as questionable with lower body injuries (although we know Pato’s is his knee and Pareja said this week that Moutinho’s is pain in his adductor). Center back Rodrigo Schlegel has returned to training with the team following the death of his father, and could be in the match day squad, but won’t likely be ready for much game action yet.
Game notes for the match list the following players as out: Caden Clark (appendectomy), Youba Diarra (hamstring), Andrew Gutman (knee), Aaron Long (achilles), Daniel Royer (thigh), Andres Reyes (hamstring). Clark returned to training late this week. Tom Edwards (quad) is listed as questionable.
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.
- Dave Rohe outlined his three keys to victory for Orlando City in this match.
Orlando City (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Brandon Austin.
Defenders: Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Michael Halliday.
Midfielders: Mauricio Pereyra, Junior Urso, Andres Perea, Chris Mueller.
Forwards: Nani, Daryl Dike.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Rodrigo Schlegel, Uri Rosell, Joey DeZart, David Loera, Alexander Alvarado, Silvester van der Water, Benji Michel Tesho Akindele.
New York Red Bulls (3-4-1-2 Diamond)
Goalkeeper: Carlos Coronel.
Defenders: John Tolkin, Sean Nealis, Tom Edwards.
Midfielders: Cristian Casseres Jr., Sean Davis, Dru Yearwood, Kyle Duncan
Attacking Midfielder: Wikelman Carmona.
Forwards: Patryk Klimala, Fábio Gomes Netto.
Bench: Ryan Meara, Amro Tarek, Jason Pendant, Frankie Amaya, Omir Fernandez, Tom Barlow, Cameron Harper.
Ref: Joseph Dickerson.
AR1: Ian McKay.
AR2: Ryan Graves.
4th: Thomas Snyder.
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez.
AVAR: Kyle Longville.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (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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