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.

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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.

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.

New York Red Bulls 3-1 Orlando City: Exclusive photos as Red Bulls down Lions

New York Red Bulls 3-1 Orlando City – The Red Bulls bounced back from last weekend’s Hudson River Derby loss with a strong comeback win at Red Bull Arena on Saturday evening. Bradley Wright-Phillips was among the goals again as Orlando saw their winless run extended to five.

Jesse Marsch’s men have now won five of their last six MLS games. They are fourth in the East and well on course for a playoff place.

By stark contrast, Orlando City are facing an uphill battle if they are going to make the postseason for the first time. Jason Kreis has watched his team lose four of their last five. They are five points behind sixth-placed Atlanta, but have played two games more than the expansion side. They need to produce something special to reach the playoffs for the first time.

The Lions got off to the perfect start, with Carlos Rivas putting them 1-0 up in the 18th minute. However, Leo Pereira scored an own goal after a good cross from Tyler Adams on the half-hour mark to level it up.

Wright-Phillips then put the hosts in front. He turned in a cross from Alex Muyl and the Red Bulls then looked comfortable. The result was made certain when Sean Davis curled in a fine effort nine minutes from time.

The game did end on a sour note though. Referee Jorge Gonzalez handed out four yellow cards in stoppage time. While he issued Kaka with a contentious red card after a Video Review. The Brazilian put his hands on the face of Aurelien Collin, seemingly joking with a friend. But Gonzalez chose to send Kaka off after watching the incident back.

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

New York Red Bulls 3-1 Orlando City: Exclusive Photos

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Orlando City

Major League Soccer: Montreal Impact vs Orlando City

Stade Saputo – Saturday, August 5 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Montreal 10/11 – Draw 5/2 – Orlando 14/5

Montreal Impact vs Orlando City: Preview

Montreal Impact host Orlando City in a key Eastern Conference battle on Saturday evening. Both sides come into the weekend outside the playoffs. But both know a win could fire them straight back into contention.

Montreal come into Week 22 in 10th place in the East. They are closer to DC in last place than they are to Columbus in 6th, highlighting how tough a year it’s been so far for the Canadian side.

The upside for the Impact right now is that they’ve played 20 games. That’s the fewest in the conference and means a win over Orlando on Saturday would leave them three points behind the Lions with two games in hand.

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But with just one with from their last four MLS outings, it’s tough to see where the Impact’s late season surge towards the playoffs is going to come from.

Orlando City are in a better position coming into the final three months of the season. They are just two points outside the playoffs coming into the weekend and have been boosted by the signing of Dom Dwyer from Sporting Kansas City.

Dwyer’s arrival has injected life back into the Lions’ season. The fans are optimistic and you’d expect them to kick on and make the playoffs for the first time this year. But they must find a way to win road games such as this one if they are to make it.

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Orlando are winless in their last three. They were desperately unlucky to concede away at Atlanta in stoppage time last weekend. That Hector Villalba goal stunned them but they must show character and respond with a win here.

With neither side in any kind of strong form, this is a really tough game to call. Both teams have potential match-winners at their disposal. And so this could come down to which stars shine brightest in what should be a hard-fought battle.

Montreal Impact vs Orlando City: Team News

Montreal Impact will still be without Ambroise Oyongo, while Victor Cabrera remains doubtful. New signing Samuel Piette should be in line to start after joining the club on Thursday.

Orlando City remain without Rafael Ramos. Kevin Alston is a doubt. Jason Kreis will likely start Dwyer alongside Larin once again as he tries to get the best out of two of Major League Soccer’s most talented strikers.

Montreal Impact vs Orlando City: Key Points

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/L/W/L/L

Orlando City’s last five: L/W/L/L/D

Key Stat: Differentials – Montreal Impact are five points worse off than they were at the same stage last season. Orlando City are four points better off than they were at the same point last year.

Key Player: Dom Dwyer – There’s no question that Dwyer will be at the centre of attention again here. The returning Orlando hero kept an incredible summer going with a goal for the MLS All-Stars against Real Madrid on Wednesday. He’ll be desperate to open his tally with the Lions in MLS. And you’d expect him to, given the fact the Impact have the East’s third-worst defensive record.

Montreal Impact vs Orlando City: Prediction

Montreal Impact 1-2 Orlando City – This is a really tough one the call. Both sides are in poor form. Both need a win to pick back up. But it’s unclear exactly where the magic spark is going to come from. Dwyer’s signing has left Orlando fans in a better mood than Montreal’s coming into the game. That could well be enough to separate the sides, as the visitors’ attack could be too much if they start to find form.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Atlanta United

Major League Soccer: Orlando City vs Atlanta United

Orlando City Stadium – Friday, July 21 – 19:00 ET (00:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Orlando City 11/8 – Draw 5/2 – Atlanta United 17/10

Orlando City vs Atlanta United: Preview

Orlando City take on Atlanta United for the first time in history on Friday night. The two sides are separated by just a point in the Eastern Conference, so this could prove to be a real six-pointer.

Neither side has played a game for over two weeks as a result of the Gold Cup break. Atlanta come into Friday’s game in fourth, one point and two places higher than Orlando.

The Lions know the pressure is on them to get a win in front of their own fans. They can leapfrog Atlanta with a victory and put themselves well on track for a first-ever playoff spot.

Orlando City fell 3-1 at home to Toronto in their last game before the break. That result stretched their home winless run to four games, with a 3-1 US Open Cup defeat to Miami FC included.

Jason Kreis has had a long time to prepare for this game. A victory will put the Lions back on track. A defeat would leave them in trouble at a vital stage of the season.

Atlanta should come into Friday’s match in good spirits. They picked up a 4-2 win over San Jose before the two-week break. That victory came just days after they won 2-0 at Columbus Crew.

Despite being an expansion side, Atlanta have impressed from the word ‘go’. They have a strong squad, with difference-makers across the midfield and attack.

They will undoubtedly fancy their chances of leaving Orlando with all three points. Although even a draw would leave the visitors in a prime position to secure postseason soccer at the first attempt.

This will be the first ever meeting between the two sides. Although given the attacking nature of both teams, this has the potential to be a thriller. Orlando and Atlanta have goals in them, so you don’t want to miss this one.

Orlando City vs Atlanta United: Team News

Cyle Larin was called up to the Canada squad for their quarter-final clash with Jamaica on Thursday night so he will be unavailable for Orlando. Rafael Ramos is still ruled out through injury. Jose Aja is one booking away from suspension and will need to watch his step.

Atlanta United are set to see Brad Guzan between the sticks for the first time. The long-time Premier League goalkeeper was released from USMNT duty after the group stages of the Gold Cup, so is expected to start here. The visitors will be without Romario Williams, who has been at the Gold Cup with the Jamaica squad for the past few weeks. They will still be without injured trio Jacob Peterson, Kenwyne Jones and Alec Kann.

Orlando City vs Atlanta United: Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: D/D/L/W/L

Atlanta United’s last five: W/L/W/W/W

Key Stat: Atlanta are in the best form of their season, having won three-straight MLS games. They have scored seven in that time, conceding twice.

Key Player: Josef Martinez – The Atlanta striker has been excellent when fit this season. He netted twice in the win over San Jose last time out and should be raring to go here. His pace will cause Orlando all kinds of problems on the counter-attack.

Orlando City vs Atlanta United: Prediction

Orlando City 1-3 Atlanta United – Both sides know a win here would put them in a really strong position in the East. However, it’s tough to predict how both sides will cope after a long break from action. Atlanta have goals in them and will look to pick Orlando off on the break. While the loss of Cyle Larin will take away a real threat for the Lions. Atlanta to make it three wins on the spin.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs Orlando City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Orlando City SC
Venue: CenturyLink Field – Wednesday, June 21 – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)
Match Odds: Seattle 8/15 – Draw 3/1 – Orlando 9/2

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders take on Orlando City in a key midweek clash on Wednesday night with Seattle looking for a fourth-straight home win in MLS against an Orlando side that look to be struggling.

The Sounders fell 2-1 at New York City FC on Saturday evening, with two second-half David Villa goals turning the game on its head after Cristian Roldan had given the visitors the lead.

That collapse isn’t the first for Seattle this season and they are really finding it difficult to live up to the billing of MLS Cup Champions. The good news for Sounders fans is that they are at home here, and they have started to really make CenturyLink Field a fortress again.

Seattle have won their last four home games in total – including the 2-1 US Open Cup win over Portland – and haven’t conceded an MLS goal in front of their own fans for 337 minutes.

Orlando know they have to try and break down the Seattle defence if they are to leave with anything on Wednesday. The Lions shipped three goals in their dramatic 3-3 draw with Montreal at the weekend and have yet to keep an away clean sheet this season.

Jason Kreis has the players at his disposal to turn their stuttering form around and he will be doing all he can to get his team motivated for a key game as they look to pick up just a second win in their last ten regular season outings.

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This will be the third meeting between the two clubs in MLS, with Seattle winning both the previous clashes. They toppled Orlando 4-0 in the Lions’ debut season before then winning 3-1 in Florida last August on their way to claiming the MLS Cup title.

Team News

Seattle Sounders have question marks hanging over the fitness of Tony Alfaro and Brad Evans, with both listed as ‘questionable’ for Wednesday’s game.

Orlando City have no injuries to worry about ahead of the trip to Seattle, although Cyle Larin is doubtful to feature as a result of his ongoing troubles off the pitch. Antonio Nocerino will be available again after serving a suspension against Montreal on Saturday.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ form: W/W/L/W/L

Orlando City’s form: L/L/W/D/D

Key Stat: Orlando City haven’t won away to a Western Conference opponent since April 2015.

Key Player: Cristian Roldan – The Sounders midfielder has been putting in consistently good displays all season and was rewarded for his tenacious approach with a goal at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. He hasn’t missed a minute of action this season and will look to dominate the game from midfield here.

Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 2-1 Orlando City – Seattle should keep up their strong run of form at home to an Orlando side that look a shadow of the team that was so impressive through the first few weeks of the season. Neither of these sides are high enough in the standings, considering their lofty expectations but this clash offers a great chance to get three more points on the board at the midpoint of the campaign.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Montreal Impact
Venue: Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, June 17 – 00:30 BST (19:30 EDT)
Match Odds: Orlando City 19/20 – Draw 5/2 – Montreal Impact 5/2

Match Preview

Orlando City welcome the in-form Montreal Impact to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday night in the hope of returning to winning ways after a tough run has seen them win just one of their last eight league games.

With seven points separating the two sides, there is already a significant gap that Montreal will want to shorten desperately. With the midpoint of the season approaching rapidly, Montreal will want to stay within arms length of the playoff spots. While Orlando will be desperate to remain in them after such a good start to the season.

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The International break is over and so both sides will hope to have fresh squads for this weekend’s game. However, there are numerous absentees this weekend with injuries and suspensions limiting both coaches options.

Orlando have only picked up one win in their last eight MLS games – a phenomenal turnaround considering they won six of their first seven this term. They also crashed out of the US Open Cup with a disappointing 3-1 home loss to Miami FC on Wednesday night, so Jason Kreis has some real problems to iron out.

In contrast, Montreal’s recent form has been good, with two wins in their last three and drawing the other. They will now look to make a significant challenge for the playoffs, after a dreadful start, in which they didn’t win a game until week six.

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Team News

Orlando City have no injury concerns for the upcoming weekend. However, Cyle Larin is expected to be unavailable after being arrested with a DUI charge on Wednesday night. Rafael Ramos and Antonio Nocerino are suspended.

Montreal Impact will definitely be without Ambroise Oyongo and Matteo Mancosu, who have long-term injuries. Hernan Bernardello, Ballou Jean-Yves Tabla, Louis Béland-Goyette and Andres Romero are all doubts. Chris Duvall is suspended.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: D/L/L/W/D

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/L/W/W/D

Key Stat: Orlando City have only lost one of their last ten home games in MLS.

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – Montreal’s playmaker will have to be at his creative best to unlock a steady Orlando defence. With Orlando missing some key men, this is a good opportunity for the Impact to grab three points and a huge scalp to go with it, so they’ll be looking to Piatti for more inspiration.

Score Prediction

Orlando City 1-1 Montreal Impact – With a few big names missing, the tie opens up massively. Orlando’s form is below the level they showed early on this season, while Montreal are producing results recently. We see this one ending with honours even but both sides have a real chance of taking all three points.

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.