Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night matchup between Orlando City (3-3-2, 11 points) and the LA Galaxy (1-4-3, 6 points). This is the only scheduled meeting between the two clubs from opposite conferences this season.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
The Lions are 3-3-0 against LA in MLS play, but have only met once since 2019. Orlando is 2-1-0 against the Galaxy at Exploria Stadium, although LA won in its last trip to the City Beautiful back in May of 2019 (more on that below).
Orlando City and LA met at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA last year and the Lions won their first match ever in the state of California, 1-0. Facundo Torres scored his first career MLS goal on a header off a beautiful Ercan Kara cross for the game’s only goal. Pedro Gallese set a new club record with his 14th clean sheet across all competitions.
The last time these teams met in Orlando, it was the Galaxy coming into Exploria Stadium and getting a smash-and-grab 1-0 win on May 24, 2019. Jonathan dos Santos provided the game’s only goal in the opening 20 minutes, with the Lions out-shooting the Galaxy 19-4 (7-1 on target).
Prior to the road team winning each of the last two matchups, the home team had won all four prior meetings. In Orlando’s visit to LA back in 2018, the Lions fell 4-3 after blowing the lead three times. It was a case of too much Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who figured in every goal, notching his first MLS hat trick and adding an assist. Cristian Higuita and Dom Dwyer scored for Orlando and Sacha Kljestan forced an own goal by Michael Ciani with a pass intended for Yoshimar Yotún.
Back in 2017 in Orlando, the Lions prevailed, 2-1. Will Johnson and Cyle Larin provided the offense to offset a goal by Romain Alessandrini.
The Galaxy captured the lone 2016 contest, 4-2. Giovani Dos Santos scored twice as LA put together four straight goals to erase a 1-0 deficit provided by Kevin Molino. Alan Gordon and Robbie Keane scored the other two Galaxy goals. Brek Shea tacked on a cosmetic goal late for Orlando.
The Lions won 4-0 at home in 2015 in the first meeting against the then-defending champions. It was Orlando City’s first-ever home win in MLS. Eric Avila, Larin, Kaká and Darwin Ceren found the net for the Lions and Tally Hall got a shutout in his first Orlando City appearance.
Orlando City has struggled to find both points and goals at Exploria Stadium so far this season, sitting at just 1-3-1 with three consecutive home losses and dropped points in four straight dating back to opening night against the New York Red Bulls. The reason for the poor results is no secret. The Lions have scored only three home goals in five games this MLS season — four goals in six if you count the Champions League match vs. Tigres — and one was a penalty. Compare that to the five goals Orlando has in three road matches and something just isn’t right when playing in Exploria Stadium.
The book on Orlando City is to play a low block at Exploria Stadium and wait for the Lions to make a mistake. They didn’t against New York or Cincinnati and got a 1-0 win and a 0-0 draw to show for it. However, a few mistakes were punished by Charlotte, Nashville, and D.C. and all three teams left Orlando with victories. Goals change games and the Lions haven’t changed their home games.
The Galaxy are coming off their first win of the year — a 2-0 home victory over Austin FC — but LA is 0-2-2 on the road this season. With just one road goal in four away matches this season, it’s pretty obvious why the Galaxy have struggled on the road.
In other words, a team that hasn’t been able to score on the road is visiting a team that can’t score at home. While a 0-0 draw might be the most logical prediction for tonight’s game, you just never know. Both teams might just explode.
Chicharito is the obvious danger man for the Galaxy. Last weekend, Greg Vanney deployed two strikers, with Chicharito joined up top by Dejan Joveljic. The tandem worked well, with Joveljic setting up Chicharito for his first goal of the season. It will be interesting to see if Vanney sticks with what was successful against Austin or goes back to a loan striker up top.
U.S. international Tyler Boyd is a new addition on the right win for LA and although he started the season quietly, he scored a golazo against LAFC and has been active the last couple of matches.
The Galaxy will get offensive chances. LA leads the league in possession and key passes and is third in MLS in shot attempts. Orlando’s back line and defensive setup will have to limit clear-cut opportunities. On the other end, the Lions may not have to deal with a low block in this game (although maybe, based on the previous success of other teams) but must be much more clinical in and around the penalty area.
“The Galaxy are a team who plays very good soccer,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “They have players that are talented. They’re trying to find their way and their rhythm and consistency. Despite the results, what we see there is a very competitive team that we are preparing to try and use our ways and our spaces and show that we are a team who can compete at the top of the table. We have to make it valid on the pitch and get those points, especially in front of our fans.”
Orlando City will be without captain Mauricio Pereyra (thigh) and left back Luca Petrasso (thigh). Rookie forward Duncan McGuire (lower leg) is listed as questionable. Michael Halliday (thigh) is off of the availability report for the first time since returning from international duty. LA will be without suspended midfielder Riqui Puig (yellow card accumulation), as well as Jonathan Bond (shoulder) and Chris Mavinga (lower leg).
- Our Intelligence Report this week gathered information on the Galaxy from Alicia Rodriguez of the soon-to-be indendent LAG Confidentialblog.
- The latest PawedCast includes our key matchups and score predictions for the Lions vs. the LA Galaxy, with input from Alicia Rodriguez.
- David Rohe provided his three keys to victory for Orlando City in Saturday’s match-up.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Michael Halliday.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.
Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Martin Ojeda, Facundo Torres.
Forward: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Rafael Santos, Alex Freeman, Rodrigo Schlegel, Felipe, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, Gaston Gonzalez, Ramiro Enrique, Jack Lynn.
LA Galaxy (4-4-2)
Goalkeeper: Jonathan Klinsmann.
Defenders: Lucas Calegari, Jalen Neal, Martin Caceres, Julian Aude.
Midfielders: Douglas Costa, Mark Delgado, Gaston Brugman, Tyler Boyd.
Forwards: Dejan Joveljic, Chicharito.
Bench: Novak Micovic, Raheem Edwards, Eriq Zavaleta, Sega Coulibaly, Uri Rosell, Memo Rodriguez, Daniel Aguirre, Efrain Alvarez, Preston Judd.
REF: Jon Freemon.
AR1: Kyle Atkins.
AR2: Adam Garner.
4TH: Natalie Simon.
VAR: Greg Dopka.
AVAR: Peter Balciunas.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
TV/Live Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Acción 97.9 FM, 810 AM (Spanish).
Enjoy the match! Go City!