Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night matchup between Orlando City (6-4-5, 23 points) and the Colorado Rapids (2-8-7, 13 points) at Exploria Stadium (7:30 p.m., Apple TV (free)). 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 4-1-2 in the all-time series (3-0-0 at home). The most recent meeting took place last year in Colorado, with the teams playing to a 1-1 draw on July 13, 2022. Facundo Torres gave the Lions the lead in the first half but Gyasi Zardes equalized in the second half.
Before last year, the previous 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 early, because of course he did. Nani tied things up just past the half-hour mark, 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 as the game approached its end, and Nani scored on a penalty in the just before stoppage time 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 still searching for the magic formula to get results at home the way they do on the road. Orlando City played quite well in its last home game against Atlanta United but could only put one goal on the board and that opened the door for a second late equalizer in as many home matches. The Lions want the ball, but they seem to be better without it, hitting opponents on the counter, than they are with extended passages of possession. Orlando is 2-3-3 at home and has drawn two straight at Exploria Stadium, riding a modest three-game home unbeaten streak (1-0-2) and an overall stretch of five matches without a loss (2-0-3).
The Rapids are similar to Orlando in that they’ve been better on the road than at home this season, capturing both of their victories away from Dick’s Sporting Goods Park — at Sporting Kansas City and the LA Galaxy — and gave the Columbus Crew a good run in a 3-2 loss in their most recent road match on May 31. Colorado is 2-4-3 away from home and 0-4-4 in its own stadium in 2023. The Rapids are coming off a 0-0 home draw against the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday and they are on a six-match winless skid (0-5-1).
I don’t have to tell you how much teams on winless or losing streaks love playing Orlando City. In fact, the last time these teams met, the Pids were on a 0-3-2 streak and came from behind to claim a point.
Robin Fraser’s side is not to be taken lightly and a great deal of Colorado’s struggles this season can be attributed to key injuries. Diego Rubio has been limited to eight matches this year, and he’s listed as questionable for tonight with an upper body injury, but he’s got a goal and three assists. Midfielder Connor Ronan has become a key setup man for the Rapids, with a goal and six assists on the season. Michael Barrios, Lalas Abubakar, Cole Bassett, and former Galaxy winger Kevin Cabral have two goals apiece. Abubakar is a dangerous aerial threat on set pieces.
“The Colorado [Rapids] are a team that are finding their way,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of the match. “We know the [Head] coach [Robin Fraser], and they have good players. We have to be very cautious about thinking that it is going to be an easy [match]. Colorado is a good [team] and have very good players. They have been playing well, regardless of their scoring. We are respecting the rival, trying to get better, and not thinking that we are already there. We’re not, we’re far from it. We need to keep going and if we keep this consistency of performing well, we are closer to getting better results.”
Orlando City will be without goalkeeper Adam Grinwis (concussion protocol), Gaston Gonzalez (thigh), and Abdi Salim (knee), while Luca Petrasso (thigh) is questionable. Michael Halliday is back from international duty, but Pareja typically gives most guys a bit of time off after they return from international tournaments. Additionally, OCB’s Alejandro Granados signed a short-term agreement on Friday and is available for selection in this match.
Colorado will be without Jack Price (achilles), Max Alves (removed from team activities), and Moïse Bombito (red card suspension), with Rubio (upper body) questionable.
- Our Intelligence Report provides information on the Rapids from Burgundy Wave managing editor Matt Pollard.
- Our most recent PawedCast includes our key matchups and score predictions for the Colorado game and Pollard jumped on with us to give us the inside scoop on the 2023 Rapids.
- Our David Rohe provided his three keys to victory for Orlando City against Colorado.
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, Michael Halliday, Rodrigo Schlegel, Felipe, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, Alejandro Granados, Martin Ojeda, Ramiro Enrique, Duncan McGuire.
Goalkeeper: Marko Ilic.
Defenders: Danny Wilson, Andreas Maxsø, Lalas Abubakar.
Wingbacks/Midfielders: Cole Bassett, Braian Galvan, Bryan Acosta, Connor Ronan, Keegan Rosenberry.
Forwards: Jonathan Lewis, Kevin Cabral.
Bench: William Yarbrough, Steven Beitashour, Michael Edwards, Anthony Markanich, Ralph Priso, Danny Leyva, Michael Barrios, Calvin Harris, Darren Yapi.
REF: Rosendo Mendoza.
AR1: Kevin Lock.
AR2: Brian Poeschel.
4TH: Sergii Demianchuk.
VAR: Luis Guardia.
AVAR: Tom Supple.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
TV/Live Stream: Apple TV (free, no MLS Season Pass necessary).
Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Accion 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
Enjoy the game. Go City!