Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Chicago Fire: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions look to snap a three-match winless run.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Welcome to your match thread and preview for a Saturday night matchup between Orlando City (7-5-7, 28 points) and the Chicago Fire (5-6-8, 23 points) at Exploria Stadium (7:30 p.m., Apple TV+ (free)). This is the first of two scheduled meetings between the Eastern Conference rivals in 2023 and the only matchup in Orlando. The Lions will make the return trip to Soldier Field on Sunday, Aug. 20.

Here’s what you need to know about the match.


The Lions are 5-5-6 in 15 MLS meetings with the Fire and 5-6-6 in all competitions. Orlando City is 3-2-3 against the Fire at home in MLS play.

In the most recent meeting between the sides, Orlando City claimed a 1-0 victory at Exploria Stadium on April 9, 2022 on Ercan Kara’s first MLS goal. The two sides met at Soldier Field just over a month prior to that match and played, officially, to a 0-0 draw on March 5. The game is another Orlando City match that will live in infamy due to the Professional Referee Organization’s statement after the game that Junior Urso’s goal should not have been overturned upon video review by Ismir Pekmic due to Kara not having clearly and obviously handled the ball in the buildup in any of the available replay angles. Alas…

The teams met in Orlando on Aug. 21, 2021, with a second-half Benji Michel strike lifting the Lions to a 1-0 victory. Tesho Akindele set up the play by forcing a turnover. In that year’s meeting at Soldier Field, the Fire got the better of the Lions to the tune of 3-1 on July 7. Andres Perea scored his first career MLS goal to open the scoring, but a defensive lapse in first-half stoppage allowed Boris Sekulic to equalize just before the break. Chicago rode that momentum, adding goals by Robert Beric and Chinonso Offor.

The Lions were 0-4-4 in the eight meetings before smashing the Fire 4-1 in Orlando on Sept. 19, 2020. Orlando City withstood two Chicago penalties and saw two Fire goals overturned by video review in that rain-soaked match. (Weird things usually happen when Chicago visits Orlando.) The Lions got goals from Chris Mueller, Nani, Urso, and Michel, while Chicago had only a Beric penalty to show for an otherwise good offensive performance.

The last meeting of 2019 was the last time the Fire won on the road in the series. It was a debacle for the Lions, who lost defender Robin Jansson to a back/neck injury early and shipped a handful of goals in a 5-2 home loss in the regular-season finale. Orlando got goals from Akindele and Michel but largely played like a team that couldn’t wait to end its season. Chicago got an own goal from Orlando’s Kyle Smith and strikes from CJ Sapong, Aleksandar Katai, and Przemyslaw Frankowski (twice) in the rout.

Orlando City was seconds away from a road win on March 9, 2019 before Sapong’s free header in the 95th minute leveled things in a 1-1 draw in Chicago. Dom Dwyer scored Orlando’s goal.

In 2018, the Fire swept the season series. Orlando fell 2-1 at home on May 26, 2018, with Alan Gordon’s wondergoal breaking a 1-1 deadlock. The return leg in Chicago that September was an abysmal performance by Orlando in a 4-0 Fire victory.

Chicago went 1-0-1 in 2017, with the teams playing to a 0-0 draw on June 4, 2017, with the Lions reduced to nine men. The previous 2017 meeting was the Fire’s 4-0 beatdown of Orlando on June 24 of that year. David Accam figured in all four goals, with a hat trick and an assist on Nemanja Nikolić’s goal.

The teams split the points in 2016, drawing both meetings. Cyle Larin and Accam traded goals in a 1-1 draw in Orlando on March 11. The Fire again came from behind to draw, 2-2 in the return leg that August.

The teams met once in Orlando in 2015, with the Lions and Fire battling to a 1-1 draw. You may recall that five-hour, weather-delayed affair with Eric Gehrig’s own-goal canceling out an Accam strike. The other three meetings came in Chicago, with City winning 3-2 and 1-0 in MLS matches and falling 3-1 in USOC quarterfinal action.

Match Overview

The Lions will be looking to snap a three-game winless streak (0-1-2) while trying to extend a five-match home unbeaten run (2-0-3). Orlando City enters in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, just five points ahead of Chicago, which sits 12th on the conference table. The Lions last played a week ago on the west coast, playing the Seattle Sounders to a 0-0 draw that might have been more had Mauricio Pereyra not missed a sitter in front of an empty net in the second half. It was the second straight draw with a horrible miss, as Ivan Angulo had also fired over an empty net from point-blank range the previous Wednesday at home against Philadelphia. The Lions have wasted chances before, but those two misses were beyond the pale. Orlando City is 3-3-4 at home in 2023.

Chicago is 3-5-2 away from Soldier Field in 2023, but enters tonight in good form, having won its last two road games — the club’s most recent two league matches — at Sporting Kansas City and at Portland. On the other hand, the Fire haven’t beaten an Eastern Conference club since winning 3-2 at Inter Miami on March 25. Chicago is 0-5-6 since then against the East and 1-6-8 within the conference this season.

The Lions will have to be on their toes against strikers Kei Kamara and Kacper Przybylko, who can each shake free at any moment and create danger where none previously existed. Orlando will have to try to starve them of service by closing down midfielders Xherdan Shaqiri and Brian Gutierrez. Orlando will have to do that without back line shield Cesar Araujo, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Although he had gone five games without a card twice this season, he unfortunately received disciplinary action (fines) for embellishment during both of those runs of good behavior and those apparently reset the clock on good behavior streaks.

“We always prepare our games with the respect that every team deserves. We’re concentrating on our game [against the Chicago Fire], in the way we’re going to plan it, and thinking that it’s going to be a hard game,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “It is our responsibility not to take anything lightly and to see that we’re at home and we have a debt to our fans. We need to fill those gaps and win games at home without being desperate.”

In addition to Araujo being out, the Lions have Gaston Gonzalez (thigh), Adam Grinwis (concussion protocol), and Abdi Salim (knee) listed as out for this match. Michael Halliday (left thigh) is listed as questionable on the availability report. Chicago’s game notes show former Lion Chris Mueller (upper leg), Javier Casas (upper arm), and Federico Navarro (lower leg) listed as out.

Match Content

Official Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Kyle Smith.

Defensive Midfielders: Wilder Cartagena, Mauricio Pereyra.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Martin Ojeda, Facundo Torres.

Forward: Duncan McGuire.

Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Alex Freeman, Luca Petrasso, Antonio Carlos, Felipe, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson, Favian Loyola, Ramiro Enrique, Ercan Kara.

Chicago Fire (3-4-2-1)

Goalkeeper: Chris Brady.

Defenders: Rafael Czichos, Mauricio Pineda, Carlos Teran.

Midfielders: Alonso Aceves, Gaston Giminez, Xherdan Shaquiri, Arnoud Souquet.

Attacking Midfielders: Brian Gutierrez, Fabian Herbers.

Forward: Kei Kamara.

Bench: Spencer Richey, Jonathan Dean, Kendall Burks, Miguel Navarro, Wyatt Omsberg, Maren Haile-Selassie, Jairo Torres, Georgios Koutsias, Kacper Przybylko.


REF: Nima Saghafi.
AR1: Jose Da Silva.
AR2: Ben Pilgrim.
4TH: Luis Diego Arroyo.
VAR: Jorge Gonzalez.
AVAR: Craig Lowry.

How to Watch

Match Time: 7:30 p.m.

Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.

TV/Streaming: Apple TV+ (free).

Radio: FM 96.9 The Game (English), Accion 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).

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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