Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night match-up between Orlando City (8-7-4, 28 points) and the Colorado Rapids (5-8-5, 20 points) at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, CO (9 p.m., FOX 35 Plus). It’s the one and only scheduled meeting between the two sides this season.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
Orlando City is 4-1-1 in the all-time series (1-1-1 away) and has out-scored the ‘Pids, 11-6, in the six previous meetings. Due to the scheduling around the global COVID-19 pandemic, these two teams haven’t seen each other in a while.
The last meeting also took place in Colorado, just prior to MLS shutting down for the pandemic. The Lions fell 2-1 to the Rapids on a 90th-minute goal by Drew Moor off a Colorado corner kick. It spoiled a good road effort by the Lions, who were playing without suspended captain Nani at the time. The winning goal came just eight minutes after Chris Mueller’s goal had leveled things and canceled out a Younes Namli strike.
The last time the teams played in Exploria Stadium, it was a wild match won 4-3 by the Lions. Orlando came from behind twice in the game — from deficits of 1-0 and 3-2 — to claim all three points. Kei Kamara opened the scoring nine minutes in, because of course he did. Nani tied things up in the 31st and Tesho Akindele gave Orlando the lead two minutes later. But Nicolas Mezquida (61st) and Cole Bassett (71st) scored 10 minutes apart to put the Rapids back in front. Mueller knotted the game up at 3-3 in the 81st and Nani scored on a penalty in the 89th to bring the Lions back.
The Lions came from behind to win 2-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on April 29 of 2018. Cristian Higuita and Yoshimar Yotún (pen.) provided the offense in the victory.
Orlando City won 2-0 at home as part of a four-game winning streak in 2017, which was also the fifth consecutive victory to open Orlando City Stadium. Carlos Rivas and Kaká provided all the offense in that 2017 game. The 2016 meeting ended in a 0-0 draw at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The 2015 meeting at the Citrus Bowl saw the Lions defeat the Rapids, 2-0. Rivas came on for an injured Brek Shea in that match and turned the game around. Kaká and Cyle Larin scored for Orlando City.
The Lions enter this game in search of balance. After allowing five goals in last Monday’s home loss to D.C. United, Orlando City overcorrected on Saturday night, playing a hesitant offensive game — too scared to make a mistake that led to a transition opportunity. That nearly resulted in a scoreless draw but an own goal by Damion Lowe in stoppage time allowed the Lions to collect all three points from a 1-0 victory.
That kind of performance, however, limited forward Ercan Kara to just 14 touches and his replacement off the bench only had seven more. Orlando’s midfielders and defenders must be more aware of Kara’s runs, as the big Austrian put his hand up so often to call for a pass that his arm must have been very tired the next day.
The Lions are 3-2-4 on the road in 2022, but it won’t be easy to play on short rest at altitude. The Rapids may be near the bottom of the Western Conference, but they still hold one of the league’s biggest home field advantages, with a 5-2-2 record on their own pitch — that’s all five of the team’s wins this season, as Colorado is an awful 0-6-3 on the road.
Colorado is winless in its last five matches (0-3-2), which includes the team’s only two home losses of the year so far — to Nashville SC and Austin FC. The Rapids just swapped midfielders with Toronto FC, sending Mark-Anthony Kaye to Canada in exchange for Ralph Priso and more than a million Garber Bucks.
Robin Fraser’s side is not to be taken lightly on its own field. Diego Rubio is the danger man for the Rapids, with eight goals and two assists on the year. Aside from that, the team has pretty much scored by committee, with defender Lalas Abubakar dangerous on set pieces, with three goals this season. Recently acquired Gyasi Zardes has yet to get going, but he’s always a threat in MLS matches. Michael Barrios, who played under Orlando City gaffer Oscar Pareja at FC Dallas, is the team’s top setup man, with four assists in 2022.
Orlando City will be without goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar (jaw), while Joao Moutinho (lower leg) and Adam Grinwis (upper extremity injury) are listed as questionable. An upper extremity injury is a new one for me. Aside from arms, what other extremities are upper? The head, maybe? Anyway, regardless of what the injury to Grinwis is, Pedro Gallese’s health is of utmost importance for this match and beyond.
Colorado will be without Braian Galvan (knee), Aboubacar Keita (knee), Oliver Larraz (leg), and Jack Price (calf).
Mandatory Match Content
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions for Colorado.
- Our Josh Munsey went inside the numbers in his latest scouting report.
Orlando City (4-3-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Junior Urso.
Attacking Midfielders: Alexandre Pato, Facundo Torres, Benji Michel.
Forward: Tesho Akindele.
Bench: Javier Otero, Michael Halliday, Rodrigo Schlegel, Sebas Mendez, Andres Perea, Mauricio Pereyra, Jake Mulraney, Jack Lynn, Ercan Kara.
Goalkeeper: William Yarbrough.
Defenders: Lucas Estevez Souza, Danny Wilson, Lalas Abubakar, Steven Beitashour.
Defensive Midfielders: Bryan Acosta.
Midfielders: Jonathan Lewis, Max Alves da Silva, Collen Warner, Sam Nicholson.
Forward: Gyasi Zardes.
Bench: Clint Irwin, Keegan Rosenberry. Anthony Markanich, Gustavo Vallecilla, Drew Moor, Ralph Priso, Darren Yapi, Michael Barrios Diego Rubio.
Ref: Fotis Bazakos.
AR1: Jeff Hosking.
AR2: Art Arustamyan.
4th: Jon Freemon.
VAR: Kevin Stott.
AVAR: Eric Weisbrod.
How to Watch
Match Time: 9 p.m. ET.
Venue: Dick’s Sporting Goods Park — Commerce City, CO.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Accion 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market only) and on the LionNation app (in market only).
Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City’s official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).
Enjoy the game. Go City!
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