Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC
Venue: Yankee Stadium – Friday, March 18 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT – Live on Sky Sports)
Match Odds: NYCFC 11/10 – Draw 5/2 – Orlando 23/10
Both sides have started the new season without a loss and will hope to extend their unbeaten runs to three on Friday, although both will be out for victory.
New York City followed up their 4-3 win over Chicago with a 2-2 draw against Toronto last Sunday. That result wasn’t bad by any stretch, but throwing away a two-goal lead will have left Patrick Vieira feeling a little disappointed.Embed from Getty Images
The home fans will be hoping for three points from Friday’s game and will be confident, especially as NYCFC beat Orlando 5-3 in last year’s meeting at Yankee Stadium.
Orlando are still looking for a first win of the new campaign after back-to-back draws in their first two outings. Adrian Heath will be frustrated that his side failed to pick up a win considering both matches have been at the Citrus Bowl so far.
The dramatic 2-2 opening day draw with Real Salt Lake was impressive given how late the Lions scored their goals, but last week’s 1-1 tie with a 10-man Chicago Fire team was disappointing.Embed from Getty Images
Orlando now have the chance to take points off fellow Eastern Conference playoff chasers and will hope that their first road trip of the new season proves to be valuable.
These two clubs met three times last year. They drew 1-1 on the opening weekend of last season, before both clubs won on home soil. NYCFC beat Orlando 5-3 at Yankee Stadium before the Lions responded with a 2-1 victory in October.
Patrick Vieira will remain without the services of Connor Brandt, Jack Harrison and RJ Allen as all three are still nursing injuries. Frank Lampard is still a doubt but is edging closer to a return, while the same applies for Andoni Iraola and Jefferson Mena, who could both be back in contention. It will be interesting to see if Vieira goes with a three-man defence again, as he did against Toronto FC.
Orlando are still sweating over the fitness of Kaka. The Brazilian has yet to feature this season and isn’t expected to make Friday’s game either. Conor Donovan, David Mateos, Carlos Rivas and Bryan Rochez also remain sidelined.
NYCFC’s form: W/D
Orlando City’s form: D/D
Key Stat: There were 13 goals in the three clashes between these sides last season – an average of 4.3 goals-per-game. Entertainment.
Key Player: Cyle Larin – The Orlando forward has started the new season with two goals in two games and looks as dangerous as he did last term. He now has eight goals in his last six MLS starts and will look to hurt a vulnerable NYCFC defence on Friday night.Embed from Getty Images
New York City FC 2-2 Orlando City – This should be another high-scoring clash between Major League Soccer’s two newest sides. There were eight goals in the clash at Yankee Stadium last term, and while that total might not be matched, both will feel confident of hurting the opposing defence. It’s tough to separate them on paper and so a score draw looks to be the most likely outcome for this week’s opening game.