MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City FC vs Orlando City

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Sunday, July 26 – 14:30 ET (19:30 BST – Live on Sky Sports 5)

Match Odds: NYCFC 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – Orlando City 23/10

Match Preview

New York City FC host Orlando City at Yankee Stadium in one of Week 21’s standout fixtures on Sunday afternoon in what should be a great spectacle.

The two MLS Expansion Franchises met back in March on opening weekend in what was the first ever MLS game for both clubs. Kaka’s late deflected free-kick cancelled out a Mix Diskerud strike to earn a point at the Citrus Bowl in what was an entertaining game and a similar match is expected in this one.

Neither side come into the game in good form though, with just three league wins in their last ten combined games between them, so if either is able to take three points from Sunday’s clash they will be delighted.

NYCFC could be boosted by the debuts of Designated Players Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo, though Jason Kreis has not yet confirmed whether the two midfield legends will definitely feature against the Lions.

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Their debuts can’t come soon enough for New York City fans as they look to climb into the playoff places with just three months to go. They are currently three points off Orlando in the last remaining playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and could end the weekend in sixth as a result.

Kreis will be expecting his side to respond from last week’s 1-0 loss at New England but will hope they can perform better defensively than in their last home game as Toronto put four past them in that crazy 4-4 draw.

Orlando come into the game off the back of two straight 2-0 defeats at home. New York Red Bulls followed FC Dallas in beating the Lions last weekend and Adrian Heath will be looking for a response against their expansion rivals here.

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They’ve only won one of their last six away from home, however, and need to make sure they perform much better if they’re to take anything from Sunday’s encounter.

Team News

New York City’s main team news regards Lampard and Pirlo, though it’s not clear whether both will feature on Sunday. Lampard has missed the last two weeks with a calf strain but could play here, while Pirlo trained for the first time with NYCFC on Thursday and will be in contention to start. Jason Hernandez and Ned Grabavoy are both suspended, while George John and Tony Taylor are out. Connor Brandt, Javier Calle and Sebastian Velasquez are all doubtful. Mix Diskerud is still away at the Gold Cup and won’t feature.

Orlando have several concerns too. Christian Higuita is ruled out through suspension, while Kevin Molino, Martin Paterson, Tony Cascio, Brek Shea and Harrison Heath are all out injured. Kaka is fit and will hope to inspire his team to victory.

Key Points

New York City’s last five: W/L/W/D/L

Orlando City’s last five: L/W/D/L/L

Key Stat: NYCFC have the worst home record in MLS, having picked up just ten points from a possible 30 at Yankee Stadium.

Key Player: David Villa – Two new DPs may be grabbing all the attention in New York right now, but it’s David Villa who has carried the team so far. He has ten goals and will look to lead his side to victory here.

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Score Prediction

New York City FC 2-2 Orlando City – Tough to separate the sides as another score draw could be on the cards. Neither side are at full strength but there should be goals in what will be an open and entertaining game. If Lampard and Pirlo make their debuts, NYCFC will be difficult to beat but that’s a big ‘if’.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: New England Revolution vs New York City FC

Competition: Major League Soccer – New England Revolution vs. New York City FC

Venue: Gillette Stadium – Saturday, July 18 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST – Live on Sky Sports 5)

Match Odds: New England Revolution 19/20 – Draw 13/5 – New York City FC 13/5

Match Preview

New England Revolution host New York City FC in a huge clash in the Eastern Conference with playoff ambitions riding high for both sides.

The Revs are in a torrid run of form that needs to end quickly. No wins in their last five matches in MLS have given the rest of the conference a boost in climbing the table and has seen last year’s MLS Cup runners-up fall to sixth place, seeing the likes of Columbus Crew, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC overtake them.

The 4-1 loss at Red Bull Arena last weekend condemned the Revs to the unwanted statistic of becoming the first side in MLS to lose five times on the bounce this season.

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That aside, they are still in the playoff mix but only just. They need to end that horrible run of form and get the win on Saturday to give them confidence as they head to Chicago Fire next week, having only won twice on the road this term. A win this time round is a must.

Despite an agonisingly slow start for New York City FC, the MLS Expansion Franchise have now starting picking up points steadily and are in and out of the playoff places in the Eastern.

The signing of Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo and the eagerly awaited debut of Frank Lampard will bring confidence, leaders and a winning mentality to the club – something Jason Kreis will welcome with open arms.

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They were very unfortunate in last week’s 4-4 draw at home to Toronto FC. They did well to come from 3-2 down at half time, with Jason Kreis rallying his troops to earn a point but their defending was woeful and they must improve at the back this week.

The reverse fixture saw New York City FC win 2-0 in their home opener at Yankee Stadium in March, with goals from David Villa and Patrick Mullins settling it, in what was NYCFC’s first ever victory in MLS.

Team News

New England look set to be without DP Jermaine Jones, Darrius Barnes and also Kevin Alston, though Jones could feature.

New York City FC will be without George John, Ryan Meara and Tony Taylor. Connor Brandt, Javier Calle, Khiry Shelton, Sebastian Velasquez and Jason Hernandez are all doubtful, while Mix Diskerud is away with the USMNT. Frank Lampard will have to wait another week for his debut as he is ruled out of this one.

Key Points

New England Revolution’s last five in MLS: L/L/L/L/L

New York City FC’s last five in MLS: W/W/L/W/D

Key Stat: Three of New York City’s last four wins have been away from home.

Key Player: David Villa – You can’t bet against the NYCFC captain. Villa has been in excellent form and excelling in his striking role. He scored two last weekend and is now on ten goals in MLS. He will only get more when Lampard and Pirlo feature but until then, expect him to continue delivering.

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Score Prediction

New England Revolution 0-2 New York City FC – New England Revolution are in a real mess. Jermaine Jones’ absence is affecting them greatly. His signing this time last year galvanised the MLS Cup runners-up but they are really not in a good place right now. New York City look good going forward and look the likelier of the two to score. Away win.

Andrea Pirlo update: NYCFC deal close but unlikely to join until 2016

Andrea Pirlo‘s proposed move to Major League Soccer is still very much alive and a deal to join New York City FC looks to be close after the Italian legend spent time at Yankee Stadium this weekend.

However, the Juventus star is unlikely to be pulling on an NYCFC shirt anytime soon as any deal will likely keep Pirlo in Europe until January 2016, when he will then join up with the MLS Expansion Franchise for preseason training, according to La Gazzetta Dello Sport.

The 36-year-old was in the United States this weekend and spent time at Yankee Stadium watching the New York Yankees play. He was joined by NYCFC chief executive Ferran Soriano, who also represents Premier League side Manchester City, as talks clearly took place regarding a possible transfer.

Reports now suggest his signing will be confirmed within the next week, though it doesn’t look likely he will be joining to help NYCFC during the 2015 campaign.

Frank Lampard is just weeks away from joining his new teammates, while Spanish right-back Iraola will also be strengthening Jason Kreis’s team as we enter July.

Pirlo is believed to want to remain in Europe until the end of the calendar year to ensure he stays part of the Italian national setup ahead of next summer’s European Championships in France.

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He should therefore stay with Juventus for the first half of their 2015/16 Serie A campaign before completing the move stateside.

Though you can’t rule out a short-term loan switch to Manchester City, as another Frank Lampard situation could be on the cards if chief executive Soriano works his magic again for City Football Group.

Meanwhile, fellow Italian Sebastian Giovinco has been speaking about Andrea Pirlo’s possible move to MLS, and revealed he has been in contact with his former Juve teammate.

“I spoke to Andrea and told him what I think: that this is an experience worth having. Of course, then only he can decide his future,” the Toronto star told Sky Sport Italia.

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“I had two and a half wonderful years at Juventus, I won what I needed to win and did what was asked of me. I am happy to be here in Toronto and have no regrets.”

So it looks as if we will be seeing Pirlo play in MLS, though not until the 2016 season, as NYCFC fans look set to have to wait for the arrival of their third Designated Player.

Should Andrea Pirlo move to NYCFC immediately? Or would waiting until 2016 make more sense?

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: Chelsea beat United to ‘new Pogba’, City to loan NYCFC star

Daily transfer roundup (Monday, June 8)

MLS Rumours

NYCFC target Andrea Pirlo is also being tracked by A-League side Sydney FC as the Australian club are hoping an $8 million deal for two season will be enough to convince the Italian to move Down Under. (REPORT)

Manchester City could use their relationship with MLS Expansion Franchise New York City FC to loan Spanish striker David Villa in the winter once the US soccer season is over. (REPORT)

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Uruguayan attacker Diego Forlan has decided not to renew his contract with Japanese side Cerezo Osaka and could move to MLS as a final challenge after being linked numerous times in the past. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Chelsea look to have beaten Manchester United to the signing of 16-year-old midfielder Joseph Colley, who has been likened to French sensation Paul Pogba. (REPORT)

Tottenham will look to offload Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor this summer to fund an £18 million move for AS Monaco striker Anthony Martial. (REPORT)

Arsenal will look to make a surprise £11 million move for Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic this summer. (REPORT)

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Done Deals

Danny Ings will join Liverpool when his contract with Burnley expires at the end of the month, subject to a medical. (REPORT)

Sydney FC looking to HIJACK NYCFC’s move for Andrea Pirlo with huge offer

Andrea Pirlo is a man in demand. Saturday’s Champions League final loss with Juventus was more than likely his final game for the Italian giants and he is looking set for a new challenge outside of Europe.

Last week reports emerged that New York City FC had offered him a deal and that the player had indeed agreed to join, though with nothing concrete reported by either club yet, other teams are circling.

One of those is Australian side Sydney FC. The A-League outfit are keen to bring Pirlo in and will offer the midfield legend a huge $4 million-a-year deal for two seasons Down Under, according to The Australian.

Representatives from Australia reportedly flew to Milan on Sunday to try and discuss terms over a possible contract but it’s not yet clear whether Pirlo would want to play in the region.

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While it may look a bit farfetched, it was Sydney FC who managed to lure Alessandro Del Piero to the club back in 2012 despite interest from Liverpool, as he became the highest paid player to ever play in Australia.

They would likely offer the same sort of terms to Pirlo if he is keen on a move, though New York City FC will still be confident as it’s more than likely they can match, if not beat the $8 million offer over two seasons being reported.

Frank Lampard will join up with the MLS Expansion Franchise next month and Pirlo could link up with the Premier League legend, as well as David Villa in New York.

Where should Andrea Pirlo move this summer – MLS or the A-League?

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: Arsenal to hijack £21m United target, Pirlo-NYCFC update

Daily transfer roundup (Thursday, June 4)

MLS Rumours

Andrea Pirlo has not yet decided on his future, despite reports indicating he has agreed to join New York City FC this summer, reports La Gazzetta Dello Sport. (REPORT)

While US international defender Oguchi Onyewu has not yet sealed a move to NYCFC as an injury is delaying any signing of a contract with the MLS Expansion Franchise. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Arsenal look set to hijack Manchester United’s move for Sevilla striker Carlos Bacca and will make a £21 million move to sign the Colombian this summer. Spurs have also been linked. (REPORT)

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Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is keen on signing AS Monaco forward Radamel Falcao despite his unsuccessful stint at Manchester United and will sell Juan Cuadrado to fund the move. (REPORT)

Tottenham will battle with Southampton for the signing of Sporting Lisbon midfielder Adrien Silva. He is valued at around £9 million. (REPORT)

Done Deals

Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign Manchester City midfielder James Milner this summer when his contract expires at the end of the month, subject to a medical. (REPORT)

Watford FC have confirmed the signing of Lithuanian international goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis from Steaua Bucharest. (REPORT)

NYCFC’s third DP on the way as Italian legend ACCEPTS offer – report

New York City FC‘s search for a third and final Designated Player looks to be over as Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo has accepted an offer, according to Spanish news outlet AS.

The report claims that NYCFC turned to Pirlo soon after learning Barcelona’s Xavi wanted to play in Qatar rather than in the United States, and a deal now looks to have been agreed.

“Andrea Pirlo will play his last game for Juventus on Saturday,” the report claims.

It goes on to suggest that although it was speculated he would only leave if he wins the Champions League in Berlin, he has now made it pretty clear he is going by accepting a proposal made by New York City, with Ferran Soriano playing a key role.

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Soriano is the CEO of NYCFC as well as Manchester City and Melbourne City FC, and he clearly feels Pirlo is the man to take the MLS Expansion Franchise up another level.

Head coach Jason Kreis has struggled to get his team winning matches so far, with just the one victory through their first 13 games, as they sit bottom of the Supporters’ Shield standings on eight points.

Frank Lampard will join up with his new team in July and could be followed in by Pirlo, and the two veterans could enjoy quite the partnership in the middle of the park.

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David Villa is already with the team and he will be relishing the prospect of receiving service from Lampard and Pirlo – two of the game’s greatest playmakers to have played.

Liverpool were also linked with a move for Pirlo as a possible replacement for LA Galaxy-bound Steven Gerrard but the lure of New York City looks to have been enough for Pirlo.

We now await official confirmation from the club, but it looks as if NYCFC have added a second World Cup winner to their roster in Italian legend Andrea Pirlo.

Will Andrea Pirlo be a good signing for New York City FC? Is he what they need?

Transfer roundup: Wenger ‘likes’ Juve star, United forward to MLS, Timbers keen on Drogba

Daily transfer roundup (Wednesday, May 27)

MLS RUMOURS

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, 26, is set to leave the club this summer after returning from his loan spell with Real Madrid. His agent confirmed they have a whole host of tempting offers on the table, one of which includes a Major League Soccer club in the USA, likely to be Orlando City. (REPORT)

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter has confirmed that his MLS club are interested in Chelsea striker Didier Drogba, 37, and Juventus midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo, 36. Both have been linked with moves to MLS this week and the Timbers boss has done little to quell the rumours. (REPORT)

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New York City FC are looking to bolster their defence with the addition of U.S. International defender Oguchi Onyewu, 33, on a free transfer. He’s just left Championship side Charlton Athletic after making just three league appearances, and is now looking for his fifth club in three years. (REPORT)

PREMIER LEAGUE RUMOURS

Tottenham are reportedly lining up a £12m offer for Burnley striker Danny Ings, 22. Ings is out of contract in June but Spurs are keen to seal the deal and beat their rivals to his signature. Liverpool have also been linked with a move for the Englishman in the past. (REPORT)

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he likes Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, 28, after the Chilean was linked with a move to the Gunners this week. (REPORT)

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Stoke City defender Robert Huth, 30, is looking to join Leicester City on a permanent basis in a deal worth £3m. The German defender joined on-loan in January and has made 14 appearances. (REPORT)

DONE DEALS

Newly promoted Bournemouth have confirmed the signing of Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici, 30, on a free transfer. The Cherries signed him on a three-year deal after his contract expired at the end of the season. He joins fellow ‘keeper Artur Boruc, 35, to the club who signed a permanent deal following his loan move. (REPORT)

Stoke City have signed goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard, 23, from Danish club FC Midtjylland for an undisclosed fee. (REPORT)

Graham Dorrans, 28, has signed a two-year deal with Norwich City. He joined the Canaries on-loan in February 2015 and has now made the deal permanent. (REPORT)

Portland Timbers boss confirms club are interested in Drogba and Pirlo

Portland Timbers head coach Caleb Porter has confirmed that his MLS club are interested in Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Juventus midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo.

Both Drogba and Pirlo have been linked with moves to MLS this week and the Timbers boss has done little to quell the rumours suggesting that we could see two superstars heading to the USA.

“We’ll go after anybody like that. We’d love to have guys like that, but it comes down to the feasibility of it and looking at the situation as well,” said Porter.

“We’re aware of all these guys that come over and sometimes we want them and they don’t want to come to us. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense for whatever reason based on the situation, but yeah, we’re looking at all those guys.”

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Portland’s owner Merritt Paulson admitted back in January that he would like to have Drogba at the Timbers and although the Chelsea striker is ageing, Paulson believed the Ivorian would be “uniquely skilled to clean up in MLS.”

At the time Paulson said, “the league almost signed him a couple years ago and I know my coach would love him to be a Timber, but I highly doubt it at this point.”

However, it looks as though the likelihood of Drogba plying his trade in MLS with the Timbers has increased this week after the 37-year-old confirmed he is leaving Chelsea and is interested in playing in the USA.

Would Didier Drogba be an ideal signing for the Portland Timbers?

Juventus star to reject Liverpool to seal MLS switch – report

Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo could reject a move to the Premier League with Liverpool this summer as he prefers the idea of a move to Major League Soccer, according to Italian transfer expert Gianluca Di Marzio.

Pirlo has just won his fourth straight Serie A title with Juventus and is preparing for a Champions League final against Barcelona in two weeks time, but his future beyond that is still unclear.

The 36-year-old Italian icon still has one year left on his current Juve deal, but reports suggest he will move on this summer if Juve lift the Champions League, with Liverpool already expressing an interest.

The Reds have reportedly lined up Pirlo as a possible replacement to outgoing legend Steven Gerrard, who is heading to MLS with LA Galaxy in July, but Pirlo could be following the former England international stateside in the coming months too.

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Di Marzio has reported that Pirlo has already received an offer to play in Qatar but the former World Cup winner prefers the idea of a move to New York with expansion franchise New York City FC, with Sky Italy reporting the player has even received an offer.

A move to NYCFC would see Pirlo link up with incoming Englishman Frank Lampard as well as Spanish forward David Villa in what would be an extremely talented trio of Designated Players for the expansion franchise.

New York City have endured a tough start to life in MLS with just one win so far but head coach Jason Kreis will be looking forward to the arrival of Lampard in July, as well as another possible DP signing.

Pirlo could be that signing, though Chelsea star Didier Drogba is also being linked with a move to NYCFC as the big names continue to be linked with a move to MLS.

Would Andrea Pirlo be a good signing for New York City FC?