Welcome to your match thread and preview for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (5-4-5, 20 points) and the New York Red Bulls (4-5-7, 19 points) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ (7:30 p.m., MLS Season Pass on Apple TV). This is the second of the two scheduled league matches between the sides this season.
Here’s what you need to know for the match.
The Lions are 7-9-2 in 18 league meetings with the Red Bulls in the all-time series (8-9-2 in all competitions), with a record of 3-5-1 in road matches.
The most recent meeting between the sides took place on opening day, with Orlando City winning 1-0 on a Facundo Torres penalty kick on Feb. 25 at Exploria Stadium. Sean Nealis’ handball allowed the Lions to start the season with a victory.
Orlando City won the most recent meeting at Red Bull Arena, a 1-0 decision on Aug. 13, 2022, thanks to a Torres goal. That allowed the Lions to split the regular-season meetings and take two of three against New York in all competitions in 2022.
The Lions scored five unanswered goals to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 5-1 romp in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals on July 27, 2022 at Exploria Stadium. Cesar Araujo scored his first two professional goals on set pieces, while Mauricio Pereyra, Torres, and Benji Michel also found the net.
The win last August allowed the Lions to snap a four-game winless streak (0-3-1) in the regular-season series. The last of those non-wins came on April 24, 2022, when the Lions were walloped 3-0 at home on goals by Luquinhas, Cristian Casseres Jr., and Lewis Morgan, and Orlando City failed to get any of its measly three shot attempts on target.
The Red Bulls swept the season series in 2021. The teams met at Exploria Stadium on July 3 of that season with New York taking home a 2-1 win. Casseres opened the scoring just six minutes in, but Chris Mueller pulled the Lions level early in the second half. Fabio’s late goal lifted the visitors. Pereyra’s poor penalty was saved by Carlos Coronel, which cost Orlando City a better result.
The Red Bulls also handed Orlando City its first loss of the 2021 season, a 2-1 affair at Red Bull Arena, on May 29, 2021. 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 Casseres, 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 teams split two meetings in 2018, with the Red Bulls grabbing a 1-0 result in the 2018 season finale to capture the Supporters’ Shield and the Lions pulling off a 4-3 home victory on March 31, 2018. Each team won at home in 2017 to split the two-game series, with New York winning 3-1 on Aug. 12, and Orlando City opening the season series with a 1-0 win on April 9 behind Servando Carrasco’s goal.
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.
Orlando City enters this match on a four-game unbeaten run but only one of those was a win (1-0-3) — on the road at Inter Miami two weeks ago. Two of those three draws saw Orlando take a 1-0 lead but fail to add a second goal, with both New York City FC and Atlanta United stealing points with equalizers after the 85th minute.
The Lions are 3-1-2 on the road this season, which is much better than their 2-3-3 home mark. City has gotten a result in two straight away games (1-0-1).
New York is coming off a 1-0 win at Inter Miami on Wednesday night. That was the Red Bulls’ first road victory of the year, as they improved to 1-4-4 away from Red Bull Arena. They’ve been much better at home, going 3-1-3 so far in 2023. New York has won two straight home games and has gone 3-1-2 since Troy Lesesne took over as coach following the firing of Gerhard Struber.
The Red Bulls’ success has been entirely predicated on their defense. They’ve scored just 11 goals in 16 games — the worst in Major League Soccer — but they have conceded only 13 goals on the season, which is second only to Nashville’s 10 (in 15 games). New York doesn’t allow many shots, and the Lions have been held to fewer than four shot attempts in two of the last three regular-season meetings and just six back in February (one on target). That defense, led by John Tolkin, Andres Reyes, and Nealis, and fronted by several capable defensive midfielders/wingbacks, has limited opponents’ chances and Coronel is a solid goalkeeper behind them.
Morgan’s return from injury could bolster the New York attack, which is generated largely through turning opponents over and getting transition opportunities. Tom Barlow and Cory Burke pace the Red Bulls with two goals apiece, along with Reyes — a formidable aerial presence — and the injured Omir Fernandez.
“We played them [the New York Red Bulls] already here at home. We know how they are and their characteristics,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of the match. “We will work during the week with our tools. It will be great if we cannot just dominate the game but open it up and then lead the game and just walk out with three points. That’s what we want.”
Orlando City will be without Gastón González (thigh), Abdi Salim (knee), and Michael Halliday (international duty), while Luca Petrasso (thigh) has been upgraded to questionable. New York is without Serge Ngoma (hamstring), Fernandez (hamstring), Steven Sserwadda (knee), Cam Harper (red card suspension), and Daniel Edelman (international duty).
- Our Intelligence Report provides more background on tonight’s opponents, courtesy of Mark Fishkin of the Seeing Red podcast.
- The most recent episode of the PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions for today’s match.
- Our David Rohe gave his three keys to an Orlando City victory in this match.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Kyle Smith.
Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.
Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, Facundo Torres.
Forward: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Thomas Williams, Rodrigo Schlegel, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, Felipe, Shak Mohammed, Martin Ojeda, Ramiro Enrique, Duncan McGuire.
New York Red Bulls (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Carlos Coronel.
Defenders: John Tolkin, Sean Nealis, Andres Reyes, Dylan Nealis.
Defensive Midfielders: Dru Yearwood, Peter Stroud.
Attacking Midfielders: Tom Barlow, Cristian Casseres Jr., Luquinhas.
Forward: Cory Burke.
Bench: Ryan Meara, Hassan Ndam, Kyle Duncan, Wikelman Carmona, Frankie Amaya, Lewis Morgan, Elias Manoel, Dante Vanzeir.
REF: Victor Rivas.
AR1: Jeffrey Greeson.
AR2: Adam Garner.
4TH: Alexis Da Silva.
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
AVAR: Eric Weisbrod.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7;30 p.m.
Venue: Red Bull Arena — Harrison, NJ.
TV/Streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
Enjoy the match. Go City!