Orlando City

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

The Lions host the high-scoring Crew with a spot in the Eastern Conference final on the line.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Jeremy Reper

Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night matchup between Orlando City and the Columbus Crew at Exploria Stadium (5:30 p.m., MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+). This is the third meeting of the season between the two Eastern Conference rivals and the first time they’ve met in the MLS playoffs.

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


The Lions are 10-6-3 in the all-time league series and 7-2-2 at home. Orlando City also has a home U.S. Open Cup win back in 2015 against the Crew for an 11-6-3 overall mark in all competitions (8-2-2 at home).

The last time these teams met was a memorable game at Exploria Stadium on Sept. 16, with the Lions coming from behind to snatch a stunning 4-3 victory at the death. Julian Gressel gave Columbus an early lead that held up through the first half. Martin Ojeda equalized just after the restart, but Diego Rossi and Cucho Hernandez staked the Crew to a two-goal lead. Facundo Torres pulled one back and Ramiro Enrique bagged his first MLS brace, with a goal just a few minutes from the end of normal time and another late in stoppage.

These teams met previously this season in Columbus on May 13, playing to a 2-2 draw. Orlando City fell behind 2-0 by halftime on goals by Darlington Nagbe and Jacen Russell-Rowe, but Ercan Kara pulled one back just a few minutes after the restart and Duncan McGuire leveled the game in stoppage time.

The two sides met in Orlando on Decision Day 2022, with Orlando City erasing a 1-0 deficit on a Derrick Etienne Jr. goal to win, 2-1, and clinch a playoff spot. Junior Urso leveled the game in the second half and Torres struck from the penalty spot late. The meeting in Columbus last year took place on April 16, 2022, with the Lions winning 2-0 on goals by Rodrigo Schlegel and Kara.

The 2021 season series concluded on Oct. 27 in Columbus with the Crew winning 3-2. Columbus had lost five straight to Orlando prior to Lucas Zelarayan’s one-goal, two-assist performance. Miguel Berry and Etienne also scored for the Crew. Daryl Dike pulled a goal back from the spot and Robin Jansson struck late but it wasn’t enough.

The teams met at Exploria Stadium on Sept. 4, 2021, when the Lions won, 3-2. Orlando was cruising and built a 2-0 lead on goals by Dike and Silvester van der Water, but a bizarre own goal by Antonio Carlos threw the Crew a lifeline, and a Berry equalizer turned the game around. Urso provided the winner in the 69th minute.

City won the only meeting of 2020 when the 10-man Lions got a late Benji Michel goal to defeat the Crew 2-1 on Nov. 4. Chris Mueller gave Orlando the lead in that game but Harrison Afful was able to equalize just moments after referee Ramy Touchan sent off Nani on a ludicrous call that was overturned by the MLS independent panel a few days later. Thanks to Michel’s goal, the officiating error didn’t end up costing the Lions, who clinched their first-ever MLS playoff spot with the win.

The Lions swept the season series in 2019, defeating the Crew 1-0 on a Michel goal on July 13, 2019, and two weeks previously getting their first road win in the series, 2-0. Nani assisted on goals by Mueller and Tesho Akindele in that one.

Orlando won 2-1 on Oct. 21, 2018 to start a five-game winning streak against the Crew on a pair of penalty kick goals. Yoshimar Yotún and Sacha Kljestan provided the spot kicks to offset Federico Higuain’s opening goal.

The last Crew win in the series prior to the Orlando winning streak was assisted by a horror call by Silviu Petrescu in the 88th minute on July 21, 2018, giving Columbus an equalizer from the penalty spot. Wil Trapp then scored the kind of goal in stoppage time that he’ll probably never score again to lift the Crew to a 3-2 victory in a game the Lions had stolen away from them on a call that Petrescu’s own organization said was an error.

Columbus got the better of Orlando in 2017, going 2-0-1. The Lions were 0-1-1 against Columbus in 2016 and 1-1-1 in the series in 2015.

Match Overview

Orlando City got to this point by putting together a pair of 1-0 wins to sweep Nashville SC in the Lions’ first-round series. With those victories, the Lions have won six consecutive games and are unbeaten in seven (6-0-1). The Lions went 9-3-5 at home this season in regular-season play and are 11-3-6 in all competitions at Exploria Stadium in 2023. Orlando City is unbeaten at Exploria since April 22 — a span of 15 matches in all competitions (10-0-5).

The Crew enter this matchup after beating Atlanta United 2-1 in a three-game series in which the home team won every match. Columbus won the opener 2-0, then lost 4-2 in Atlanta before winning 4-2 in the rubber match to advance. The Crew went 4-8-5 away from Columbus in the regular season and are 4-9-5 on the road when you add the playoff match in Atlanta. However, Columbus is the league’s highest-scoring team with 67 goals in the regular season and eight so far in the playoffs, so the Crew are always dangerous. The led both matches against Orlando this season by two goals.

Crew Head Coach Wilfried Nancy’s system features a three-man back line with solid defensive positioning and an opportunistic attack that can win the ball in dangerous areas and exploit transition opportunities. Hernandez, Rossi, and Christian Ramirez are obvious threats but midfielder Aidan Morris has joined them as an attacking presence in 2023. Russell-Rowe, who played primarily for the team’s MLS NEXT Pro squad last season, is also a threat to score. The midseason addition of Rudy Camacho has bolstered the Columbus defense, while the additions of Gressel and Rossi give the Crew even more attacking bite, despite the transfer out of talisman Zelarayan.

“After our game against Nashville [SC], we had a couple of days off to refresh after our efforts there and the emotions the game brought us,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of the match. “We have kept a good pace and have worked on some details towards what is coming with Columbus [Crew]. This week, we have been a bit more intense in our preparations. The boys are good and healthy.”

Orlando City will be without reserves Favian Loyola (arm) and Jack Lynn (thigh). Columbus will be without Will Sands (knee).

Match Content

Official Lineups:

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Dagur Dan Thorhallsson.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Wilder Cartagena.

Attacking Midfielders: Ivan Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, Facundo Torres.

Forward: Duncan McGuire.

Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Kyle Smith, Michael Halliday, Antonio Carlos, Felipe, Junior Urso, Gaston Gonzalez, Martin Ojeda, Ramiro Enrique.

Columbus Crew (3-4-3)

Goalkeeper: Patrick Schulte.

Defenders: Malte Amundsen, Rudy Camacho, Steven Moreira.

Wingbacks / Central Midfielders: Yaw Yeboah, Aidan Morris, Darlington Nagbe, Mohamed Farsi.

Forwards: Cucho Hernandez, Diego Rossi, Alexandru Matan.

Bench: Evan Bush, Jimmy Medranda, Yevhen Cheberko, Sean Zawadski, Julian Gressel, Maximilian Arfsted, Kevin Molino, Jacen Russell-Rowe, Christian Ramirez.


REF: Jon Freemon.
AR1: Jeremy Hanson.
AR2: Chantal Boudreau.
4TH: Fotis Bazakos.
VAR: Timothy Ford.
AVAR: TJ Zablocki.

How to Watch

Match Time: 5:30 p.m.

Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.

TV/Streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+

Radio: FM 104.1 Real Radio (English), Acción 97.9 FM, 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 match. Go City!


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