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.

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

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. New York City FC
Venue: Orlando City Stadium – Sunday, May 21st – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: Orlando 23/20 – Draw 12/5 – NYCFC 21/10

Match Preview

Orlando City host New York City for the third time already this season on Sunday night with both sides looking to get back to winning ways after a disappointing couple of weeks.

Orlando came flying out of the blocks this season, winning six of their opening seven games to lead the Supporters’ Shield standings. However, they’ve managed no wins in their last four and come into the weekend off the back of a 1-1 draw at San Jose.

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They have still yet to lose at home this season, although their 2-2 draw with Sporting KC last weekend means their 100% home record at the new Orlando City Stadium has now gone. The aim this weekend will be to get a win over NYCFC – just as they did in the inaugural match at the new stadium back in Week One.

The visitors know they have another tough test coming up. NYCFC fell 2-1 at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night, despite taking the lead in that game, and must look to bounce back with a first win in three attempts over Orlando this season.

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The two sides met on opening weekend, with Orlando picking up a 1-0 win before then winning 2-1 at Yankee Stadium just a month ago. New York City have only won one of their nine MLS games against Orlando since both sides entered the league in 2015.

A fierce rivalry has developed between these two and Sunday’s game will be their last meeting of the year, unless they meet in the playoffs later on in the year, so expect this one to be entertaining from the word ‘go’.

Team News

Orlando City’s only injury concern coming into the weekend is Kevin Alston, who will miss out with an ongoing knee injury.

New York City FC remain without Ronald Matarrita, while Khiry Shelton is still listed as ‘questionable’ as he struggles with a hamstring strain.

Key Points

Orlando City’s form: W/L/L/D/D

NYCFC’s form: L/W/W/D/L

Key Stat: NYCFC have yet to win a game away at Orlando City, losing their last three on the bounce.

Key Player: Cyle Larin – The Canadian star loves scoring goals against New York City. He’s now scored nine times in seven games against them – his best record against any team in MLS. If anyone was going to prove the difference again here, it would surely be Larin.

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Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-1 New York City FC – It’s difficult to see the trend changing this weekend as Orlando look to remain unbeaten at home against an NYCFC side that struggle to overcome them. Strong chances can be made for both, but ultimately, the Lions look set to make it three out of three this season with another home victory.

MLS Preview and Preview: Orlando City vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City SC vs. Sporting Kansas City
Venue: Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, May 13th  – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)
Match Odds: Orlando City 6/5 – Draw 9/4 – Sporting Kansas City 85/40

Match Preview

Orlando City play host to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday as third meets fourth in the battle for the Supporters’ shield. Both teams have been in great form early on this season and both have 12 points from a possible 18.

Orlando, as mentioned, have been impressive so far and even without leader Kaka, they have been producing results. Their last two results present somewhat of a slump with two losses although both came on the road and a return to their new stadium will fill them with confidence once again.

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Much of Orlando’s recent form can been attributed to Jason Kreis’ tactics, but the additions of Danny Toia and Will Johnson have brought much-needed MLS experience to the side and thus far they have been impressive.

Another home win would really give Orlando a boost, particularly against a unit as solid as Sporting KC, who will be looking to leave Florida with three points themselves.

Sporting Kansas City have been quietly getting on with business so far, but defensively have been highly impressive, with the title of joint-best defence in the league being well deserved. The transition of USMNT international Graham Zusi to right-back has solved a positional problem for Peter Vermes and he deserves great credit for his man-management.

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Since their MLS Cup win in 2013,  they have been underachieving given the quality of the team over recent seasons. But the current crop of players, helped by the long-serving core of the team, are still performing and so success could be just around the corner for the team once again.

Last week’s lost in Minnesota will have left the whole team disappointed but they now have the chance to go and end Orlando’s hot streak in their new stadium. A win here would put the visitors in a really strong position at the top of the West.

Team News

Orlando City are without experienced defender Kevin Alston for the visit of Sporting Kansas City. Rafael Ramos is a doubt with a hamstring injury but Kaka could be in line for his first home start since the opening weekend.

Sporting Kansas City are only without one player through injury as Diego Rubio is a long-term absentee with a torn ACL. Ike Opara and Graham Zusi are expected to return to the starting lineup after being benched in the loss to Minnesota United.

Key Stats

Orlando City’s form: W/W/W/L/L

Sporting Kansas City’s form: W/L/W/W/L

Key Stat: Fortress – Orlando City have won their last six home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Cyle Larin – Premier League target Larin has been a top performer in MLS since entering the league as the overall number one pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Everyone knows what he is capable of, particularly on home soil so expect him to be pivotal to the outcome of this clash.

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Score Prediction

Orlando City 1-1 Sporting Kansas City – Both sides are coming off the back of a loss and will want to return to winning ways in their lone regular season matchup. We expect a low scoring affair, with a draw looking likely between two sides that can defend well.

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

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Orlando City 
Venue: Yankee Stadium – Sunday, April 23 – 13:30 ET (18:30 BST)
Match Odds: NYCFC 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – Orlando 15/4

Match Preview

New York City welcome Orlando City to Yankee Stadium in one of the standout fixtures of gameweek eight, the Eastern Conference sides are separated by just two points ahead of the clash.

NYCFC come into this one having won 2-0 away at Philadelphia. David Villa scored one of the goals of his career, an incredible strike from distance.

Patrick Vieira’s side are unbeaten at home so far this season and they will want to keep that run going this weekend. They should be competing to top the Eastern Conference and will need to be beating sides like Orlando to do so.

Orlando City are one point off top spot in the East despite playing two games less than leaders Columbus. They have scored just six goals in their five games this season, but have been resolute at the back.

The Lions are looking fierce and resilient early on this season but to win here is going to be a huge ask. Their only away game of 2017 was a 2-0 loss against Columbus and they only won three times on the road last season.

Cyle Larin has enjoyed some great success in front of goal against NYCFC, netting seven in the last six meetings between the two sides.

Team News

Khiry Shelton and Ronald Matarrita look set to be the only absentees for NYCFC against the visiting Orlando this weekend.

Orlando could be without up to five players for this fixture as Kaká, Seb Hines, Rafael Ramos and Jose Aja are all out, while Antonio Nocerino remains a doubt.

Key Points

NYCFC’s form: W/D/W/L/W

Orlando City’s form: W/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: David Villa and Kyle Larin have both scored four times so far this season, their reliability in front of goal may well be key to decide who wins this one.

Key Player: Jack Harrison – The NYCFC forward has had a good start to the season, he netted his second goal of 2017 last weekend and will be hoping to get on the scoresheet once again here.

Score Prediction

New York City FC 2-2 Orlando City – Score draw. NYCFC will continue their unbeaten run at Yankee Stadium and not lose any ground against their Eastern Conference rivals this weekend. Orlando to pick up their first away point of the season, albeit this is only their second game on the road.

Orlando City star linked with £2m move to Everton to replace Lukaku this summer

Everton are looking across the pond to Major League Soccer as they line up a summer move for Orlando City striker Cyle Larin, who the Toffees see as an ideal replacement for the seemingly outgoing Romelu Lukaku, according to the Sun.

Everton scouts have been watching Larin take MLS by storm since joining the league with Orlando in 2015. He’s scored a total of 34 goals in 61 regular season games and has added three assists in that time.

At 21, Larin is clearly a player with a big future ahead of him. Orlando fans would love to think they could hold onto their prolific frontman for the foreseeable future but interest from a Premier League club like Everton will have to be taken seriously by both the player and the club itself.

Larin is expected to cost around £2 million if Everton firm up their interest in the coming months, but that would surely only happen if Lukaku does indeed depart at the end of the season.

The Belgian forward has refused to sign a new five-year deal as he wants to play in the Champions League for one of Europe’s elite clubs. He is currently the Premier League’s top goalscorer after netting 21 goals in 28 appearances so far this season – the best tally of his career.

A return to former club Chelsea is on the cards as it appears increasingly unlikely that the 23-year-old talisman will be plying his trade at Goodison Park next term.

The Toffees might well look to Larin if they lose Lukaku but they can expect competition, with European rivals Besiktas, Celtic and Benfica also reported to be circling around the Canada international.

Would Cyle Larin be a good signing for Everton if they lose Romelu Lukaku? Is he ready to leave MLS for the Premier League?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: Camping World Stadium – Saturday, June 18 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando City 13/10 – Draw 23/10 – San Jose Earthquakes 21/10

Match Preview

Orlando City and San Jose Earthquakes go head-to-head at Camping World Stadium on Saturday as Major League Soccer returns following a two-week international break.

Orlando City have only won once in their last nine MLS matches, which is quite dreadful considering they are expected to challenge for a playoff place this year.

With Kaka expected back, as well as Cyle Larin, Orlando will want to kick start a run of form that can send them into the postseason for the first time.

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They will need to harness their strong home support for the rest of the campaign and Saturday’s clash with San Jose offers a good chance to pick up three important points.

The Quakes have had a few rough seasons but now they have a good chance at making the playoffs, as Dominic Kinnear has built a very good squad.

Key man Chris Wondolowski is still away with the USMNT, while pacey forward Innocent Emeghara is still on his way back from injury, so San Jose are a little light in the final third ahead of this one.

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The next five games could be crucial for the Quakes as they host LA Galaxy, Toronto FC and FC Dallas in the coming weeks. They must continue to pick up points on a consistent basis if they are to secure a top six finish come October.

This will just the second meeting between the two sides. Last year’s clash in San Jose saw the pair share the spoils after a 1-1 draw in a game that saw Chris Wondolowski net his 100th MLS goal.

Team News

Orlando City will be without Pedro Ribeiro, Darwin Ceren and Rafael Ramos through injury. Kaka should return from the injury that ruled him out of Brazil’s Copa America squad, while Cyle Larin os also back having only been involved in friendlies while away on international duty.

San Jose Earthquakes are missing Marc Pelosi, Clarence Goodson and Mark Sherrod through injury. Innocent Emeghara and Matheus Silva are both doubtful. The worry is that Chris Wondolowski is still away with the USA and he is unlikely to be back in time for Saturday’s game. Alberto Quintero, Anibal Godoy, Kip Colvey and Simon Dawkins have all returned from international duty, though.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: D/L/W/D/D

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: L/W/D/D/L

Key Stat: Orlando City are now unbeaten in their last 13 home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Cyle Larin – The Canadian forward has been in fine form this season and has become a key part of this Orlando side. His presence will be key on Saturday yet again.

MLS: NYCFC vs. Orlando Cyle Larin

Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-0 San Jose Earthquakes – San Jose likely to suffer without star striker Chris Wondolowski, who will be sorely missed. That absence will make a tricky away fixture even more of a challenge and we expect Orlando to win this one as a result, with Adrian Heath’s side looking in good shape ahead of this one.

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, May 29 – 16:30 ET (21:30 BST)

Match Odds: NYCFC 1/1 – Draw 13/5 – Orlando 13/5

Match Preview

New York City FC host Orlando City SC on Sunday night as Major League Soccer’s two newest franchises go head-to-head for the fifth time since entering the league last year.

Both clubs come into this one in low spirits and know that Sunday’s clash is a big one for both sets of fans. A rivalry between the clubs has existed since they entered MLS together in 2015 and so there is lots at stake here.

NYCFC come into this one off the back of last week’s 7-0 thumping at the hands of arch rivals New York Red Bulls. That heavy defeat ended a five-game unbeaten run and Patrick Vieira’s squad will now have their mental strength tested to see if they can bounce back immediately.

MLS: NYCFC vs. Orlando Patrick Vieira

 

City still sit second coming into the weekend, two points off Philadelphia at the top of the East. A win here would certainly do them the world of good, as they look to try and recover from last weekend’s humiliation.

Orlando have already taken three points from Yankee Stadium this season and will be looking to do the same here, despite a poor run of form.

The Lions come into the game outside the playoff places by one point and need to start winning more regularly if they are to remain competitive through the course of the season.

Adrian Heath has watched his side win just one of their last eight – a run that has seen them slide down the table after a solid start to the campaign.

MLS: NYCFC vs. Orlando Joe Bendik

They have only won once on the road this term but that did come at New York City so they will be confident of leaving with another positive result here.

This will be the fifth meeting between the two sides. Orlando currently hold a 2-1-1 advantage over NYCFC (1-2-1), with the Lions looking for a third consecutive win against their Eastern rivals.

Team News

New York City will be without Mikey Lopez as he will serve a one-game ban as a result of yellow card accumulation. Frank Lampard made his first appearance of the season last weekend and will be looking to start now. Connor Brandt is the only player ruled out through injury.

Orlando travel to Yankee Stadium without four players. Pedro Ribeiro, Darwin Ceren, Seb Hines and Rafael Ramos are all sidelined and so Adrian Heath will have to rely on the depth of his squad to shine through.

Key Points

New York City’s last five: W/W/W/D/L

Orlando City’s last five: D/D/L/W/D

Key Stat: Yankee troubles – New York City FC have only picked up seven points from seven home games so far this season, compared to ten points from six games on the road.

Key Player: Cyle Larin – The Orlando striker has scored six goals against New York City FC since the start of 2015 – more than against any other MLS side.

MLS: NYCFC vs. Orlando Cyle Larin

Score Prediction

New York City 2-2 Orlando City – Goals look certain here as both sides will go for this game from the off. NYCFC need to show resilience to bounce back from last week and should be able to at least find the net this week against an Orlando side that hasn’t kept a clean sheet in nine. However, they don’t look to be in a position to go and win this game and the Lions will arrive in relatively good spirits. They drew 2-2 with Philadelphia last week and the same scoreline could be on the cards here.

MLS Fantasy Focus: Make the most of the DGW ahead of Round 10

By Jamie Dawe and Sam Martin

The headlines from Round 9 have all been about Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain’s mid-game row. Their exchange of words over a penalty that would have secured Kamara his hat trick – but was eventually taken by Higuain – is a story that has travelled around the world. It marred an incredible eight-goal game, but in this week’s Fantasy Focus, we promise to focus on the football being played, not the spats off the ball!

Round 9 Review 

The Good:

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The MAPFRE Stadium, home to Columbus Crew, undoubtedly provided us with the game of the weekend, where an incredible eight goals were scored in the 4-4 draw between the Crew and Montreal Impact. It had been a disappointing start to the season for Columbus, but two goals from both Kei Kamara ($11.1) and Federico Higuaín ($10.5) put Columbus 4-1 up with just over 30 minutes to play. Remarkably, the Impact came back from the dead to salvage a point thanks to Ignacio Piatti ($10.6), Didier Drogba ($11.8) and a last minute goal from Dominic Oduro ($7.6). We have once again entered the familiar territory of Piatti gaining the most points of any player this week – with an astounding 18! While Montreal may top the Eastern Conference, Colorado Rapids are the shock leaders of the Supporters’ Shield standings, following a 1-0 home victory against an equally impressive Real Salt Lake. Jermaine Jones ($8.2) netted the goal that was the difference between the two sides to earn his side three crucial points and further cement his place as one of the league’s top players even after his unceremonious exit from New England. Robbie Keane ($11.7) may have been sidelined with injuries for most of this campaign, but the Irishman netted a brace in the Galaxy’s fifth win of the campaign, picking up 13 points in his 59 minutes on the field. Furthermore, it couldn’t possibly be a good weekend without Seattle’s Jordan Morris ($8.3) getting a mention. The forward has now scored in four straight matches as Seattle won their fourth-straight home game against San Jose on Saturday.

The Bad:

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The only red card of the weekend was collected by Orlando’s Cristian Higuita ($6.7), who was sent off late on in his side’s 1-1 draw with New York Red Bulls. OCSC are now on a run of five games without a win and with star turns Kaka ($10.8) and Cyle Larin ($9.2) in their side – it is fair to expect more from the men in purple. Meanwhile, Dallas failed to score and lost for the third consecutive outing. It has to be worrying the Texans with forward Maximiliano Urruti ($8.5) needing to regain the form that got him three goals in the opening four MLS games. Portland Timbers’ winless away run continued after defeat at Vancouver, while Sporting Kansas City also suffered a defeat away to Houston Dynamo. SKC are now winless in six after winning four of their opening five. Designated Players Benny Feilhaber ($10.9) and Graham Zusi ($10.1) will be expected to produce their finest form in the coming weeks, starting with this week’s DGW.

Round 10 Preview

Double Gameweek Must-Haves:

Jermaine Jones ($8.2):

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The Rapids are in tremendous form and it was sparked by Jermaine Jones’ entrance to the team. Fresh from his contract dispute with the Revs and his six-match ban for making repeated physical contact with referee Mark Geiger, the fire is very much within Jones’ play. Thrust into a more attacking role, he’s playing as well as he ever has – even at the age of 34.

Andrew Wenger ($7.2):

Houston have finally returned to some sort of form with a win over SKC and Wenger was instrumental in achieving the victory. Fixtures against San Jose and Real Salt Lake aren’t easy – but they’re certainly not the most difficult cards to be dealt at this point in the season. I would be shocked if Wenger didn’t pick up 10 points across the two games this week. If you don’t fancy Wenger, teammate Alex ($6.1) is bound to pick up a solid number of points at a cheap price.

Fanendo Adi ($10.3):

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The pinpoint in the Timbers’ MLS Cup winning attack, Adi is in fine form and with Diego Valeri ($10.5) pulling the strings behind him, he looks set to keep firing in goal after goal. He may be whisked away for international duty with Nigeria in Round 12, but he will be back in a flash – unlike other forward options like Giles Barnes ($8.5) and Chris Wondolowski ($10.7), who will exiting the league for the Copa America Centenario.

Maynor Figueroa ($6.7):

This is a risky one. Dallas may’ve lost three on the trot, but the former Wigan defender has performed solidly throughout and is still garnering plenty of bonus points. If Dallas were to keep a clean sheet in either of their two home games this week against the Sounders or the Timbers, it would be a shame to miss out on almost certain double figures. It’s also hard to ignore that Dallas are the only side to play both their games at home this week and Figueroa represents a solid pick.

Which players will you transfer in for Round 10’s DGW?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs New York Red Bulls

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls

Venue: Camping World Stadium – Friday, May 6 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando 5/4 – Draw 5/2 – NY Red Bulls 2/1

Match Preview

Orlando City host the New York Red Bulls on Friday night in a key Eastern Conference clash between two sides that met in a dramatic game just two weeks ago.

New York came from behind to beat Orlando 3-2 at Red Bull Arena in that game, though Orlando felt aggrieved as they thought Karl Ouimette should have been sent off for a last-man tackle on Cyle Larin when they led 1-0.

Orlando fans will be desperate to see their side bounce back with a win here. The Lions have not won in four and could certainly do with the three points as they look to remain in the playoff places.

New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City

Adrian Heath’s side showed great spirit last weekend, twice coming from behind to earn a late point in the 2-2 draw with New England and winning a second home game of the season will now be the priority.

The New York Red Bulls have suddenly turned their season around over the last two weeks. They followed up their victory over Orlando with a stunning 4-0 win over FC Dallas last Friday and are only five points off top spot in the East, despite sitting eighth.

Jesse Marsch will be delighted with the recent recovery as the Red Bulls looked to be in big trouble after losing six of their opening seven.

New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City

Injuries haven’t helped their cause so far this term but with key players nearing returns, things are looking up for last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners.

This will be the fourth ever meeting between the two sides. Their only previous clash in Orlando saw the Red Bulls win 2-0 back in July 2015.

Team News

Orlando City will be without Conor Donovan once again, while Kaka remains a doubt with a groin problem but is expected to play in Friday’s game. Cyle Larin will spearhead the attack as he is now fully fit once again.

New York Red Bulls boss Jesse Marsch will be slightly happier with his current injury situation, as a few key players are close to returning. Gideon Baah is almost ready to return to the side but is officially listed as a doubt for Friday, while the same applies to Connor Lade and Gonzalo Veron. Damien Perrinelle and Ryan Meara are both definitely out.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: W/L/D/L/D

New York Red Bulls’ last five: L/L/L/W/W

Key Stat: Orlando City are unbeaten in their last ten home games in MLS (W5 D5). Their last defeat at home actually came against the New York Red Bulls last July.

Key Player: Cyle Larin – The Orlando striker continues to impress and is now back to full fitness after a short spell on the sidelines. He has four goals from six starts this term and will need to be at his best if the home side are to get past the Red Bulls on Friday night.

New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City Cyle Larin

Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-2 New York Red Bulls – Both sides will be looking for all three points on Friday night as they look to mount a challenge for the Eastern Conference title over the remainder of the season. Orlando are a tough nut to crack at home, but they haven’t won in four and may struggle to beat a resurgent Red Bulls outfit. That said, New York have lost all four of their away games so far and so recording a third-straight league victory may be a step too far. Score draw.

Gallery: Exclusive photos from the Red Bulls’ comeback win over Orlando City

The New York Red Bulls have endured a tough start to the 2016 season, but they offered fans some hope when they came from behind to beat Orlando City 3-2 on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena.

A very early Cyle Larin goal would have worried supporters but the team battled well in the second-half as a Mike Grella strike was followed by a Bradley Wright-Phillips brace to put the home side in control.

Karl Ouimette scored an unfortunate own goal with six minutes remaining to set up a nervy finish but the Red Bulls secured three important points to move them off the foot of the Eastern Conference and into eighth.

Orlando sit in fourth place but have not won in three now and will need to rediscover their form quickly to stay in contention.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Ashley Marshall.

New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City Cyle Larin New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City Dax McCarty New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City Lloyd Sam New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City Bradley Wright-Phillips New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City New York Red Bulls vs Orlando City