Orlando City

Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Three Keys to Victory

What does Orlando City need to do to earn a second victory in a row at home this Saturday?



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

Orlando City is coming off its first win of the MLS regular season and will look to carry that momentum into Saturday night’s Eastern Conference matchup against the New York Red Bulls. The Lions will have several players back from international duty, making Oscar Pareja’s job a bit easier, although some of them will be on short rest. What does Orlando City need to do to earn all three points against the Red Bulls?

Stop Morgan

Lewis Morgan has been on a tear this season with five goals in five matches. That is more than every Orlando City player combined so far this season. The Red Bulls were held scoreless in two matches, meaning those five goals have come in three matches, with Morgan scoring a hat trick against Inter Miami. I love that he took it to the Herons like that, but I’m going to need him to cool off a bit against the Lions.

If Orlando City is to stop Morgan it will take excellent defending from the Lions’ back line and of course Pedro Gallese, who is returning from international duty. Orlando City also gets Wilder Cartagena and David Brekalo back, meaning more of the first choice lineup will be available to keep a clean sheet. With the match at home, earning a clean sheet is all the more important.

Proper Rest and Preperation

It might seem silly to say, but having more than a few days between matches is conducive to earning points. When Orlando City was participating in the Concacaf Champions Cup, the Lions never had time to properly recover or train with a game plan for the next match. Now, the Lions are able to do so, and the result against Austin FC reflects that.

Pareja is a top level MLS coach. We know that he has a plan for about the first 20 minutes of any match, and then makes adjustments throughout the remainder of the match. Even so, many of those adjustments have been planned out prior to the match. That, paired with a more rested roster, allows the Lions to be the protagonists Pareja wants them to be.

Shots, Shots, Shots

Orlando City was able to create plenty of chances against Austin FC, and will need to do so again against the Red Bulls. The Lions took 22 shots Saturday night, with eight on target, and they put two in the back of the net against Austin. Hopefully, Orlando City can be more efficient going forward, but if you don’t create opportunities, you won’t score.

The Red Bulls have some decent defenders who Orlando City will have to deal with, including fullback John Tolkin and Carlos Coronel at keeper. If the Lions can pass even close to the way they did against Austin, the opportunities will come, and if that is the case, hopefully the goals will come. Orlando City still has a sizable goal deficit, thanks to the early part of the season, that can only be corrected with more goals on the other end.

That is what I will be looking for this Saturday night at Inter&Co Stadium. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Vamos Orlando!


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