In pictures: NYCFC keep up 100% home record as Orlando City suffer fourth-straight loss

New York City FC handed Orlando City their four consecutive defeat, winning 3-0 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night. The visitors squandered a great chance to level the game from the penalty spot but missed that golden opportunity as their miserable run continues.

NYCFC’s victory made it six wins from six at home this season. The result saw them move into second place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Atlanta United.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored a brace to help the hosts to victory, with Maxi Moralez adding a late third to rubber stamp the result. But the biggest moment of the game came just after the second-half began, with the score at 1-0. Orlando were awarded a penalty when Alex Callens pulled down Chris Mueller inside the box. Sacha Kljestan stepped up but saw his penalty strike the post.

For Orlando City, that moment summed up their form of late as another concerning result leaves them clinging on to their playoff spot. They are still sixth in the East but are at risk of dropping further down the table after taking no points from a possible 12.

The Lions have suffered four-straight losses – all to Eastern Conference rivals – so Jason Kreis knows he need to turn their form around very quickly. They travel to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps next weekend, while NYCFC host Atlanta United in a crucial clash at the top of the East.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday’s game below, courtesy of Ashley Marshall:

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New York City FC vs Orlando City | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New York City FC vs Orlando City

Yankee Stadium – Saturday, June 2nd 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Preview

Saturday evening sees New York City FC welcome Orlando City to Yankee Stadium. Both the Eastern Conference sides are in an inconsistent run of form.

Patrick Vieira’s NYCFC come into this one having won just two of their last five games. As a result of their recent run they have lost a little ground in the race at the top of the East. Although they are sitting third, they are just two points behind the leaders.

Form at Yankee Stadium paints a completely different picture for New York City FC. They have won all five of their home fixtures and will be looking at this game as a winnable one.

Orlando City have lost three games on the bounce. They are in danger of slipping out of the top six and considering their form earlier in the season it will be disappointing for all involved.

Jason Kreis’ side saw their inability to find the back of the net when they are on top cost them last time out. They lost 2-1 for the third game in a row, this time at the hands of Chicago. In stark contrast, some clinical finishing was enough for Chicago to inflict that defeat on Orlando.

The Lions are hoping for the return of Dom Dwyer, they have not been the same side without him. The striker has six goals in the seven games he has played – so it’s no surprise they have missed his input.

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Team News

New York City FC

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🌏 International Duty: Ronald Matarrita and Rodney Wallace.

🚑 Out: Yangel Herrera (ankle).

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Dom Dwyer (lower body injury), Scott Sutter (lower body injury), Lamine Sane (lower body injury) and Jonathan Spector (concussion).

🌏 International Duty: Yoshi Yotun and Amro Tarek.

🚑 Out: Mason Stajduhar and Chris Schuler(broken arm).

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Key Stats

New York City’s MLS form: W/L/D/W/L

Orlando City’s MLS form: W/W/L/L/L

Key stat: New York City FC have a 100% record at Yankee Stadium in the 2018 regular season. They’ve won all five of their home fixtures.

New York City vs Orlando City venue for their next meeting

MLS: NYC FC vs. LA Galaxy at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y., USA, on Monday, Mar 12, 2018. Photo: Ashley Marshall

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Prediction

New York City FC 3-1 Orlando City: Despite Orlando being in a difficult run of form there is encouragement for them as they are still finding the back of the net. NYCFC’s Yankee Stadium form and superior league position makes it difficult to see anything but a home win. No game is a given, but Orlando have work to do if they are to bring that 100% home record to a stop.

Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Sunday, April 29 2018 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City: Preview

Sunday afternoon sees Colorado Rapids welcome Orlando City to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Rapids sit 8th in the Western Conference, while Orlando are 3rd in the East.

Last weekend was Colorado’s first loss since Week 1. They can feel hard done by not to see performances reflect a higher position in the standings – having won two, drawn two and lost two.

This is going to be a test for Anthony Hudson’s side, who are welcoming an Orlando outfit in good form. They are going to be without their ‘keeper, Tim Howard, who saw red for handling the ball outside of the area.

Orlando have won four games on the bounce. That is most certainly playoff form and they are hoping the good run can continue here.

It is not going to straightforward though and they must iron out some defensive frailties. Their 3-2 win over San Jose last weekend should have been far more comfortable. At 3-0 up the game was out of sight but weak defending from crossing made for a cagey ending to that one.

The only previous meeting between the two in Colorado ended 0-0, while the Lions are yet to lose against the Rapids. That by no means implies an away is guaranteed, which Orlando will be all too aware of.

Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City: Team News

Colorado Rapids

❌ Suspensions: Tim Howard.

❓ Doubts: Danny Wilson (undisclosed).

🚑 Out: Kortne Ford (knee) and Marlon Hairston (knee).

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: RJ Allen (hamstring).

🚑 Out: Mason Stajduhar (localized Ewing sarcoma), Scott Sutter (lower body) and Jonathan Spector.

Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City: Key Stats

Colorado Rapids’ MLS form: D/W/D/W/L

Orlando City’s MLS form: L/W/W/W/W

Key stat: Orlando City are one win away from equalling the longest win streak (five) since their inception to MLS.

Colorado Rapids vs Orlando City: Prediction

Colorado Rapids 2-2 Orlando City: Given Rapids recent form it’s difficult to see them losing this one, despite missing Howard and having lost last time out. Orlando’s winning run adds pressure to both sides – it is going to be an interesting tie which has the potential for goals. Score draw.

Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes | 2018 MLS Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes

Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, April 21 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Football

Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes: Preview

Orlando City host San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night, looking to make it four wins in a row against a Quakes side desperately looking to snap their winless run of four.

The Lions started the season in worryingly bad form. They picked up just one point from two-straight home games to open the 2018 season, before losing away at NYCFC. However, since then they’ve picked up and have managed to put together three consecutive wins heading into Week 8.

Jason Kreis described last week’s 2-0 win at Philadelphia Union as Orlando’s “most complete game of the year” and he wasn’t wrong. They picked up their first clean sheet of the campaign and looked comfortable after racing to a two-goal lead before halftime. Sacha Kljestan was particularly impressive and will be looking to pull the strings again here.

San Jose have perhaps been unfortunate to have won just one of their opening five matches. The Quakes have scored in all five games but have been conceding far too many. They’ve shipped ten so far – an average of two per game – and must shore up at the back to have any chance of building some form.

San Jose come into Saturday’s game off the back of a 2-2 home draw with Houston Dynamo. The Quakes led early before throwing away the advantage and required an 85th-minute Jahmir Hyka strike to earn a point. They have enough fight in the team but defensive quality has been evidently lacking so far.

Neither of these sides have yet to register a win over each other in MLS. The three previous clashes have all ended level, with last season’s lone meeting ending 1-1 at Avaya Stadium after late goals from Carlos Rivas and then Chris Wondolowski.

Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes: Team News

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: Scott Sutter (lower body), Jonathan Spector (concussion).

🚑 Out: Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma), RJ Allen (hamstring)

San Jose Earthquakes

❌ Suspensions: None.

❓ Doubts: None.

🚑 Out: Tommy Thompson (illness).

Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes: Key Stats

Orlando City’s MLS form: L/L/W/W/W

San Jose Earthquakes’s MLS form: W/L/L/D/D

Key stat: San Jose Earthquakes have not won away at an Eastern Conference side since August 2015 (2-0 at DC United).

Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes: Prediction

Orlando City 3-1 San Jose Earthquakes: Orlando will win this game if they can build on last week’s performance at Philadelphia. They have shown defensive frailties of their own this term but they were solid last week and should make the most of home advantage to pick up a first victory over the Quakes. San Jose will expect to find the net once again, but their problems at the back will make it difficult for them to leave with any points come the end of Saturday’s contest.

New York City FC vs Orlando City | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: New York City FC vs Orlando City

Yankee Stadium – Saturday, March 17 2018 – 15:55 ET (19:55 GMT)

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Preview

New York City FC welcome Orlando City to Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The home side are looking to make it three wins in a row as their former coach Jason Kreis comes to town. It is the first time in their history they have won their opening two games.

Last weekend should have been a far more comfortable result for NYCFC. Their 2-1 win against the Galaxy was a solid result but there is still plenty for them to improve on.

There can be no excuses for not killing the game off this weekend if they get into a similar position. If NYCFC are looking to send out a message to the rest of the Eastern Conference, they need continue their fine start.

MLS: NYC FC vs. LA Galaxy at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y., USA, on Monday, Mar 12, 2018. Photo: Ashley Marshall

Orlando City have had a rough start to their 2018 campaign. They have been blighted with injuries and have felt the impact of missing players. Despite preseason optimism after a busy winter of re-shaping the squad, the Lions find themselves in a tough position with one point from two home games.

This weekend should mark the debut for new signing Sacha Kljestan. That will be a much needed lift to the rest of a depleted squad. The former RBNY man will be out to prove a point and continue his fine run of form against NYCFC.

Some might find the all-time series standings a surprise. Orlando have won five of the nine meetings between the two, with NYCFC winning just twice. If Orlando can pick up their first three points of the season here it should kick-start what could be a very exciting 2018.

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Team News

New York City FC

❌ Suspensions: None

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: None

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: Pierre da Silva

❓ Doubts: Stefano Pinho (right ankle)

🚑 Out: Mason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma), Dom Dwyer (quad strain), Josue Colman (thigh bruise) and Oriol Rosell (fitness)

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Key Stats

NYCFC’s MLS form: W/W

Orlando City’s MLS form: D/L

Key stat: Sacha Kljestan is back and due to make his Orlando City debut. The creative midfielder has ten assists against NYCFC from his time with New York Red Bulls.

New York City FC vs Orlando City: Prediction

New York City FC 3-1 Orlando City: Given the key players missing for the Orlando side and how NYCFC have started the 2018 season a home win looks likely. Patrick Vieira’s side will have to be careful not to allow Orlando too much time on the ball as despite absentees, they still have players who can have a huge impact here. Goals are expected but the home side should run out winners.

MLS debutants run riot on opening weekend

The opening weekend of MLS has set the tone for the rest of the season. There was plenty of drama with goals, video assistant referees, red cards and shock results. However, one astonishing stat that has come from week one was from MLS debutants.

A total of 26 goals were scored across the ten games with nine of those coming from debutants – which equates to 35% of the goals scored on opening weekend.

What makes it all the more impressive is that all nine goal scorers came from different clubs, adding to the excitement.

WATCH 📹 – Take a look at all nine debutant goals from week one

Orlando City vs DC United | 2018 MLS Match Preview and Prediction

Major League Soccer: Orlando City vs DC United

Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, March 3rd 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 GMT)

Orlando City vs DC United: Preview

The opening game of Orlando City’s 2018 MLS season is to be played at home. They welcome fellow Eastern Conference side DC United to Orlando City Stadium as both sides kick off the new season with reason for optimism.

There have been some major changes to the Orlando roster during the offseason. Kaka has retired after his contract ended, which is a huge blow for the Lions. However, they have acted quickly to bring in a quality replacement in the form of Sacha Kljestan.

Orlando are yet to make it to the playoffs since their inception into MLS three years ago. The pressure is on them to make that happen this season. Jason Kreis has revamped his midfield and knows his side need to be more consistent. A home win in their season opener would go a long way to giving his new look side, and the fans, confidence.

DC United are in a similar position to Orlando for the start of the new season. They too have made improvements to their roster in the offseason. These were the bottom two sides in the East last season and will both be eager to show they are going to have a better 2018.

Making the playoffs will be the main aim for DC this campaign. They won’t want to make it two on the bounce where they fail to make the post season competition.

Ben Olsen will be expecting his side to show what they can do in this tie. However, DC have only won once in Orlando and they’re going to need to make a vast improvement on their away form from last season, where they came away with all three points on just three occasions.

Orlando City vs DC United: Team News

Orlando City

❌ Suspensions: Sacha Kljestan (Red Card) – following his red card for his altercation with Jozy Altidore in the Eastern Conference semifinal, Kljestan serves the first of his two match ban.

❓ Doubts: None

🚑 Out: Uri Rosell (fitness), Dillon Powers (ankle), Josue Colman (thigh bruise) and Dom Dwyer (quad strain)

(Take a look at all Orlando City’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

DC United

❌ Suspensions: Luciano Acosta (Red Card)

❓ Doubts: Darren Mattocks (Calf)

🚑 Out: Russell Canouse (knee sprain) and Taylor Kemp (sports hernia surgery)

(Take a look at all DC United’s key transfer business this winter by clicking the image above)

Orlando City vs DC United: Key Stats

Orlando City’s MLS form: N/A

DC United’s MLS form: N/A

Key stat: Orlando City have won their last three home games against DC United.

Orlando City vs DC United: Prediction

Orlando City 2-1 DC United: An opening weekend win for Orlando looks a likely outcome for this one. Both sides are missing key playmakers through suspension but given DC’s poor away record last season and their inability, so far, to cause Orlando major problems, this is a game may well follow suit.

2018 Key Transfers: Orlando City

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Orlando City and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

To say it’s been a busy winter at Orlando City would be an understatement. The club have been one of the busiest in MLS since their 2017 campaign came to an end. Plenty have gone, and plenty more have come in as the Lions prepare for a new-look team this season. The outcome appears to be positive. Jason Kreis has revamped his midfield. They started last season with six wins from seven but then completely dropped off, eventually finishing 10th in the East with 39 points. They need to be more consistent and will hope their new-look squad can fire them into the playoffs for the first time. This will be their fourth MLS campaign, so it’s time to start delivering.

Key Signings

Sacha Kljestan: The big question this winter was: ‘Who is going to replace Kaka for Orlando?’ The answer is Sacha Kljestan. The Lions made a big move for the Red Bulls star, sending Tommy Redding and Carlos Rivas the other way. In Kljestan, Orlando have acquired the league’s leading assist provider from both the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. At 32, there are some concerns about his fitness but he has played 97 regular season games over the past three seasons in New York – an average of 32 games a season. This one makes a lot of sense.

Lamine Sane: The Lions made a major move to strengthen their defence with the signing of 30-year-old Senegalese international Sane. The centre-back joins from Werder Bremen, where he scored two goals in 40 appearances. Prior to moving to Germany, he enjoyed a seven-year stay with French side Bordeaux. He will bring vital experience to Orlando and should be a great addition to the backline, so long as he can adapt quickly.

Justin Meram: The signing of Meram has to be one of the best this offseason by any MLS side. The winger is dangerous out wide or in a more central playmaking position and knows the league inside out. All seven of his professional seasons to date have been spent in Columbus but he wanted a new challenge and got his wish as Orlando made a major move for him. They sent $1.05 million in allocation money to the Crew, as well as an international roster spot. Meram has 40 goals and 35 assists in 200 league and playoff appearances and should be a really good addition.

Josue Colman: Another exciting attacking addition for Orlando comes in the form of Paraguayan winger Colman. The 19-year-old joins as a Young DP and will hope to nail down a regular starting role under Kreis in 2018. He joins the club from Cerro Porteno in Paraguay’s top flight after helping them win the Clausura title last year. He will have the right players around him to ensure he fulfils his potential in Florida.

Oriol Rosell: Orlando have signed a great accompaniment to all their attacking moves in Uri Rosell. The former Sporting Kansas City midfielder joins from Sporting CP in Portugal. A total of $400,000 was sent to FC Dallas so that Orlando could secure the No.1 spot in the league allocation order. Rosell is a tough-tackling holding midfielder, who knows the league and at 25, should be a great addition.

Notable Departures

Kaka: Undoubtedly the biggest loss for the Lions this offseason was Kaka. The Brazilian legend retired after his three-year contract with the Lions ended. He failed to lead the Lions to the playoffs as he had hoped but he was an incredibly instrumental figure in and off the pitch, helping to shape Orlando’s identity in MLS and on the world map. He was a three-time MLS All-Star and recorded 24 goals and 22 assists in 75 games.

Giles Barnes: Another attacking player to move on is Barnes. The English-born Jamaican international has joined Liga MX side Club Léon after his option was declined. He scored three goals and added two assists in 34 games last season and leaves MLS after six seasons in which he represented Houston, Vancouver and Orlando.

Antonio Nocerino: The Italian midfielder had his option declined at the end of the 2017 season after failing to ever live up to his billing. He joined from AC Milan and was expected to impress but scored just one goal in 52 games and didn’t register a single assist in two seasons.

Carlos Rivas: Rivas was sent to the Red Bulls along with Tommy Redding in exchange for Kljestan. His departure released a Designated Player slot for the Lions but his dynamic play style might be missed. He played 78 games over three seasons with Orlando, scoring eight goals and picking up 13 assists. Those numbers aren’t DP level though and that’s why he’s been allowed to move on.

Cyle Larin: Larin’s departure couldn’t have gone less smooth. The Canadian striker travelled to Turkey in January to train with Besiktas, without the consent of Orlando. He was contracted to the Lions through 2019 but decided to ignore his contract and tried to force through a move to Besiktas. He eventually got his way as Orlando accepted at least $2.3 million from the Turkish giants. But bad feelings aside, Larin led the team in goals in each of his three seasons and his presence will likely be a big miss in attack.

Eastern Conference Predictions: MLS Week 32 – Playoff ranking battle continues

Eastern Conference Predictions: MLS Week 32 – With just two games remaining, the Eastern Conference top six has already been confirmed. Toronto FC have been crowned Supporters’ Shield champions, but there is still plenty for the rest of the top six to fight for ahead of the postseason.

The five Eastern Conference fixtures will kickoff at the same time on Sunday evening at 17:00 ET (22:00 BST). You’d be mistaken to think any of the teams in action will take it easy just because they have already secured a playoff spot. The battle for a second-placed finish goes on to secure a Knockout Round bye. Read on for all of this weekend’s Eastern Conference predictions: MLS week 32 is going to be an exciting one…

Toronto 3-1 Montreal Impact

The buzz around Toronto continues after being crowned Supporters’ Shield champions, but there is no time to take their foot off the gas. Montreal Impact have missed out on the playoffs in what has been an underwhelming season. The home side could be boosted with the return of Sebastian Giovinco, they’ll need him fit and inform if they’re to go the distance in the playoffs. Expect a TFC win.

Orlando City 2-2 Columbus Crew

Orlando’s 2017 campaign hasn’t been one to remember. Although they have missed out on the playoffs, this should be a special occasion. Kaka, who has been their captain since their inception to MLS, announced he will be leaving the club at the end of the season. This will be his final game. The Lions’ faithful will be holding out for him to sign off in style and make it a memorable ending. Columbus Crew will have no time for sentiment however, they’ll be looking to finish the season strongly as the playoffs loom.

New York Red Bulls 1-1 Atlanta United

This is possibly one of the most important fixtures in the Eastern Conference this weekend. Atlanta can still finish second. They trail NYCFC by three points with two games remaining. They’ll be hoping to secure second place to get the reward of a bye in what has been an incredible debut season. NYCFC will be holding out for their rivals to do them a favour. It was a healthy win last time out for Red Bulls. They look likely to finish 6th in the conference, but that won’t be a concern to them, with a playoff place secured.

New England Revolution 1-3 New York City

As mentioned, New York City are sitting second in the East. The Knockout Round bye is theirs to lose as things stand. This is New England’s last home game of the 2017 season. It hasn’t exactly been what the doctor ordered for the Revs faithful. They need to give their fans something to be cheerful of to sign off 2017 as their countdown to next season beings early. In all honesty, NYCFC should be looking to take three points here and likely confirm second place.

Chicago Fire 2-1 Philadelphia Union

Who would have thought this time last season Chicago would be in the playoffs a year later? The Fire have been impressive in 2017 and have rightfully booked their place in the postseason. Philadelphia have nothing left to play for other than pride. If it’s any conciliation to their fans, they can’t finish bottom of the East, as DC United have got that locked down. We predict Chicago to make it three games without a loss and pick up another home win.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Atlanta United vs Orlando City

Major League Soccer: Atlanta United vs Orlando City 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium – Saturday, September 16 – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST)

Match Odds: Atlanta 1/2 – Draw 16/5 – Orlando 5/1

Atlanta United vs Orlando City: Preview

Atlanta United welcome Orlando City to Mercedes-Benz Stadium after their record-breaking mid-week win. The home side equalled the highest ever winning margin in Major League Soccer last time out.

That 7-0 thrashing of New England made it ten goals in just two games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Atlanta. That is as many goals as Orlando have managed in their last 12 games.

There will be even more of a buzz around the ground considering the records that were broken. Josef Martinez’s hat-trick was Atlanta’s third of the season, the most in an inaugural season by an expansion team.

Orlando City have been in a rut of form. However, they did pick up three points last time out. That was their first win in nine games.

The Lions’ faithful have reason to be concerned. They haven’t seen their side make progression this season and are up against an Atlanta side who are just two points away from equally their best tally of 44 points in their two MLS campaigns.

This looks a huge ask for Orlando. If they lose here and results go against them, they could find themselves second bottom in the East.

Atlanta United vs Orlando City: The Lions will be eager to celebrate again this weekend

Atlanta United vs Orlando City: Team News

The home side have a clean bill of health ahead of their third home game in a row. Gerardo Martino will be expected to stick with the same starting XI he did last time out, for obvious reasons.

Orlando City have four injury concerns for the trip. Richie Laryea and Josh Saunders are out. Jonathan Spector’s fitness is being assessed, while Cristian Higuita is a doubt.

Atlanta United vs Orlando City: Key Points

Atlanta United’s last five: D/L/D/W/W

Orlando’s last five: L/D/L/L/W

Key Stat: Atlanta United have scored ten goals in their opening two games at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Key Player: Josef Martinez – The Atlanta forward netted a first-half hat-trick in that emphatic 7-0 win, taking his tally in the new stadium to four in two.

Atlanta United vs Orlando City: Prediction

Atlanta United 3-0 Orlando City – Another big win for Atlanta looks like it could be on the cards here. They are the second highest scorers in MLS, while Orlando’s struggles over the last two months have been there for all to see.