Welcome to your match thread for tonight's match-up between Orlando City (6-3-2, 20 points) and New York City FC (5-4-2, 17 points) at Orlando City Stadium. It’s the third and final scheduled meeting between these two Eastern Conference rivals for 2017. It’s hard to believe they’ll have used up an entire three-game series in the first 12 matches of the season. Orlando City is 5-1-2 in the all-time series (3-0-1 at home) and won the previous two matches this year.
The Sky Blues were the Lions’ first victims of the year in a 1-0 opening day win to christen Orlando City Stadium on March 5. Cyle Larin and Joe Bendik were the big heroes that day for the lads in purple. The teams met most recently on April 23 at Yankee Stadium, with Orlando taking that game, 2-1. Larin scored a brace in the match, with David Villa pulling one back to make things interesting in the late stages of the second half.
Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis will be facing his most recent MLS team for the fourth time, and will look to stay perfect in those match-ups. In addition to the two wins to kick off 2017, Kreis’ charges beat his old club, 2-1, on Aug. 28 of last year.
Kaká’s first MLS brace more than offset a Steven Mendoza goal in the final meeting of 2016, in which Kreis exacted a measure of revenge against the club that fired him after only one season. Orlando City won the first round of 2016, 1-0, at Yankee Stadium on March 18 on a goal by Larin, killer of New York teams. The teams drew 2-2 on May 29 in the Bronx. After falling behind, 2-0, on goals by Frederic Brillant and Villa, the Lions rallied late, with Julio Baptista and Kevin Molino firing City level.
You may recall that the two 2015 expansion sides played their first MLS game against each other back on March 8, 2015. Kaká's free kick in stoppage time gave the Lions a 1-1 draw, canceling out Mix Diskerud's second-half goal.
As far as the injured list, hopefully Jonathan Spector will be able to go after an illness in the midweek at San Jose. Kevin Alston (knee) is nearing a return. Tommy Redding is with the U.S. U-20s for the FIFA U-20 World Cup for the next several weeks. For New York City FC, Ronald Matarrita (high ankle sprain) and Andrea Pirlo (knee) are out and Khiry Shelton (hamstring) is listed as questionable. Midfielder Yangel Herrera is on U-20 duty with Venezuela.
Here's your mandatory match content for tonight:
- Gavin Ewbank has your match preview and prediction.
- Our Intelligence Report gives us more about the Pigeons from Jake Gofman of SB Nation's NYCFC blog, Hudson River Blue.
- This week's PawedCast includes our key match-ups and more predictions, plus an interview with Pride forward Chioma Ubogagu.
Orlando City (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik.
Defenders: Donny Toia, Jonathan Spector, Leo Pereira, Scott Sutter.
Midfielders: Cristian Higuita, Antonio Nocerino, Will Johnson, Kaká.
Forwards: Carlos Rivas, Cyle Larin.
Bench: Josh Saunders, PC, Jose Aja, Servando Carrasco, Luis Gil, Matias Perez Garcia, Giles Barnes.
New York City FC (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Sean Johnson.
Defenders: Ben Sweat, Alexander Callens, Maxime Chanot, Ethan White.
Midfielders: Mikey Lopez, Maxi Moralez, Alexander Ring.
Forwards: Rodney Wallace, David Villa, Jack Harrison.
Bench: Eirik Johansen, RJ Allen, Frederic Brillant, John Stertzer, Tommy McNamara, Miguel Camargo, Sean Okoli.
Ref: Mark Geiger.
AR1: Kermit Quisenberry.
AR2: Logan Brown.
4th: Caleb Mendez.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m. ET.
Venue: Orlando City Stadium — Orlando, FL.
TV: FOX Sports 1.
Radio: 104.1 FM Real Radio (English), La Nueva 990 (Spanish), SiriusXM FC.
Streaming: MLS Live (blacked out locally), FOX Sports GO.
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