Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (6-5-4, 22 points) and the Houston Dynamo (5-6-3, 18 points) at Exploria Stadium. It’s the only scheduled meeting in this cross-conference series scheduled for 2022 and the first meeting in the series since the 2019 season.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
Orlando City is 1-2-2 in the all-time series (0-0-2 at home). The only Lion to have scored against the Dynamo was Dom Dwyer in 2019, as the only other Orlando goal in the series was a Tyler Deric own goal in 2015. The only Orlando City goalkeeper to earn a victory in the series is Donovan Ricketts. Yes, it’s been a while.
Due to the quirky scheduling since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the last meeting between the teams took place on Sept. 21, 2019 in Houston, with the Dynamo winning, 2-1. Dwyer struck just six minutes in, but goals three minutes apart by Alberth Elis and Christian Ramirez in the 70th and 73rd minutes, respectively, turned that match around.
The last time the teams met in Orlando, the match ended in a 0-0 draw on Sept. 22, 2018. That was a memorable match for current Orlando City goalkeeper Adam Grinwis, who made his MLS debut that night.
The Lions went to BBVA Stadium in 2017 and were wiped off the field, 4-0. A leggy Orlando team flew directly to Houston from Toronto after a hard-fought game against the Reds and saw the rested Dynamo’s speed on full display. Elis, Mauro Manotas (twice), and Romell Quioto provided the goals and it honestly could have been worse.
The 2016 match in Orlando was another 0-0 draw, in what was a pretty forgettable game under Bobby Murphy, who was serving his first stint as Orlando City’s interim coach following the firing of Adrian Heath.
In the first meeting, back in 2015, the Lions went to Texas and came home with a 1-0 victory in Houston. Deric — under extreme pressure from Pedro Ribeiro — punched the ball into the back of his own net for the only goal of the match. That was Orlando City’s historic, first MLS victory.
So, to review, Orlando City has played Houston five times, is winless in the last four (0-2-2), and only one former Lion and a former Dynamo player have scored for the Lions in those matches.
Orlando City is winless in its last three league games (0-1-2) and its last four matches in all competitions (0-1-3), but I suppose the optimistic view is to say that the Lions have lost only once in their last six competitive matches (2-1-3). Orlando is coming off a 1-1 road draw Wednesday at New England, with Robin Jansson’s goal helping earn a point by canceling out a Carles Gil strike. Orlando is just 3-4-0 at home in 2022, having lost to FC Dallas in its last league match at Exploria Stadium prior to the international break.
While the Lions are on only a couple days’ rest, Houston is coming in well-rested, having not played since a 3-0 loss at Real Salt Lake on May 28. The Dynamo are playing their fourth consecutive road match, having lost their last two at RSL and Sporting Kansas City following a big 3-0 win at the LA Galaxy. Overall, Houston sports a 2022 away record of 2-4-0.
The Dynamo have excellent attacking pieces in Sebastian Ferreira (five goals, three assists) and Darwin Quintero (five goals, one assist). Orlando cannot have turnovers or poor touches in their own half, and the Lions have to be more aware of leaving players open outside the area — which was an issue Wednesday against the Revs — because the Dynamo can score from outside the box, with five goals originating from outside the area so far this season.
“We have to lay out the plan against Houston [to the players], we already have it,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after Wednesday’s draw in New England. “We will see what players can execute in those roles, the ideas, and the plan. It is a quick turnaround, but I am hoping that this game can give us freedom. Sometimes, when the games come more often, you start to get a rhythm and I think we need it.”
Orlando City will be without center back Rodrigo Schlegel due to yellow card suspension and, quite frankly, I’m at a loss to explain how Jansson isn’t likewise suspended. The Swede picked up his third yellow card since being suspended for accumulation and missing the match at Montreal. After being suspended for a fifth yellow card, the accumulation rule generally suspends the player for getting three more, which Jansson has (apparently) done. Either Thomas Williams or Kyle Smith will need to fill in on the back line.
In addition to Schlegel (and possibly Jansson?) being out, the Lions are without Antonio Carlos (thigh), Mason Stajduhar (jaw), Silvester van der Water (lower leg), and Michael Halliday (international duty). Houston will only be missing Adalberto Carrasquilla (MLS health and safety protocols).
Mandatory Match Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides more insight about the Dynamo with the help of Dustyn Richardson from SBNation’s Houston site, Dynamo Theory.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions.
- Our Josh Munsey went inside the Houston Dynamo’s numbers in his scouting report.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Kyle Smith, Ruan.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Junior Urso.
Attacking Midfielders: Facundo Torres, Mauricio Pereyra, Jake Mulraney.
Forward: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Alexandre Pato, Sebas Mendez, Tesho Akindele, Benji Michel, Andres Perea, Alex Freeman, Joey DeZart, Thomas Williams.
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Steve Clark.
Defenders: Adam Lundkvist, Teenage Hadebe, Tim Parker, Zeca.
Midfielders: Ethan Bartlow, Memo Rodriguez, Matias Vera.
Forwards: Corey Baird, Sebastian Ferreira, Roberto Avila.
Bench: Michael Nelson, Daniel Steres, Thiago, Sam Junqua, Griffin Dorsey, Darwin Ceren, Darwin Quintero, Thorleifur Ulfarsson, Tyler Pasher.
Ref: Rosendo Mendoza.
AR1: Matthew Nelson.
AR2: Eduardo Jeff.
4th: Malik Badawi.
VAR: Jose Carlos Rivero.
AVAR: Tom Supple.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Accion 97.9 FM (Spanish), 810 AM.
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market only) and the LionNation app (in market only).
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.