Continuing on with our MLS previews, we come to one of the stand out fixtures of the opening weekend as Orlando City host New York City FC. NYC will be playing their first game post David Villa while Orlando will be hoping to show off their brand new marquee signing, Nani.
Last season saw an absolute horror show from Orlando City as they finished rock bottom of the Eastern conference. In fact, their showing was so poor that in the whole of MLS, only San Jose Earthquakes finished with a lower points tally than they did. On the flip side, NYC just missed out on automatic qualification to the conference semi-finals and finished third in the East. That didn’t stop them from reaching the semi’s but they would go no further than that, suffering a heavy 4-1 aggregate defeat to eventual MLS Cup champions, Atlanta United.
The two sides last faced each other competitively in July last year when the Citizens went to Orlando and picked up a 2-0 victory. In fact, NYC won all three encounters between the sides last season without so much as conceding a goal. City have actually won the last four total meetings between the sides – breaking a streak of six winless clashes for the Citizens previously.
The two sides did face each other in pre season no less than 11 days ago. Orlando City managed to pick up a 2-1 victory over the Citizens. It has to be said that this game was a friendly, so it’s unlikely to be totally reflective of where the two teams are at. In terms of full pre-season, NYC played five games and only managed to pick up the one win. That came against Nashville on Saturday just gone.
Meanwhile, Orlando played four pre-season games, all of which were on their own ground against domestic opposition. They managed to pick up wins against NYC, Louisville and New England but lost 4-1 to Philadelphia Union.
Orlando will be without Dom Dwyer for the matchup as he is yet to recover from a quad injury. As previously mentioned, the big team news for Orlando will be whether or not their brand new signing Nani will start. New York will be without Ronald Matarrita as he is struggling with a calf injury – other than that, both sides are fully fit and raring to go for the start of the new season.
Prediction: Both sides are going to want their seasons to start off in just the right way, but I can’t help but think the pre-season win for Orlando will be a huge confidence boost for them. I’m gonna take Orlando to edge it 2-1.