This should be a highly competitive match between the sides ranked 4th and 5th on the Eastern Conference table. With not many games left for the regular season to end, New York City FC will be feeling quite safe from the chasing pack with a four point gap separating them from the likes of Orlando City but a win here could cement their status as a playoff side for this season.
Orlando City are among many sides who are fighting to make sure they’re in the playoffs. New England Revolution, who are currently in 11th place, still have an outside shout of making it – this goes to show just how tight it is in the eastern conference midtable. The two sides have faced each other 23 times with most of the games ending in a draw, nine to be precise.
Orlando City have come out on top eight times and New York City six. Orlando City need the win more desperately here. New York City will take a point for now.
Orlando City came out on top with a 2-1 scoreline just last month in their previous meeting. This was around the time New York City’s form had begun to drastically fall. Junior Urso opened the scoring in the 7th minute to give Orlando City the lead at half-time.
Maxi Moralez got one back for New York City eight minutes into the second half but Orlando City kept pushing, taking 15 shots compared to New York City’s five and the last shot gave them a well-deserved win. Tesho Akindele was the hero, finding the back of the net six minutes into the 90.
New York City FC’s seven-game run without a victory in the MLS finally came to an end with a victory over city rivals, New York Red Bulls. Woefully out of form, it looked like New York City’s playoff spot was seriously under threat but two first half goals were enough to see them through.
Alexander Callens’ goal came in the very first minute and Santiago Rodriguez extended the lead. New York Red Bulls’ lack of penetration in the final third has been an issue all season and it came to bite them once again. Getting any win would’ve been inspiring but getting one over their city rivals will do the defending champions a world of good. They have to carry on with this form till the end of the season.
New York City FC beat Atlas from the Liga MX to win the Campeones Cup last week and it seems to have given the entire club a lift. Trophies, even those that may not seem like the most important from the outside, gives players and the staff some time to reflect on their careers and a reason to celebrate. Heading into the New York Red Bulls match, no one was expecting New York City FC to win the match based on recent form but the cup wins seems to have really shifted something in them. The side can now move on from this rough patch and start showing their full potential again.
New York City FC were definitely not as bad as some of their recent results had suggested. The team seemed to have lost some of its identity following the loan transfer of Valentin Castellanos to Girona but they always had enough talent in the squad to deal with a loss of that kind better than most other sides in the league.
With an expected goal differential (expected goals-expected goals against) of +19.7, the data suggests that they remain a strong side. Castellanos has been gone for a while and this figure could’ve dropped by a big margin in that time but it hasn’t. Clicking just before the playoffs came around would be great timing for the champions.
Orlando City put in one of their best performances of the season over the weekend by putting four past Toronto FC and conceding none. Facundo Torres kicked things off by finding the net in the 9th minute before Ercan Kara’s strike gave the home side a healthy advantage before half-time.
Lukas McNughton gifted Orlando the third before Tesho Akindele put one more past the Canadian side to give Orlando a resounding 4-0 victory.
Ercan Kara has been the team’s top goalscorer with just 10 goals, which is not good enough for a side that’s hoping to make the playoffs. He’s followed by Facundo Torres, who has hit seven this season and also registered seven this season. Other than Torres, no player in the forward line can really come out of the season with their head held high. This is an area Orlando City need to seriously go up a level on.
The lack of goalscorers has been discussed in the previous section and the underlying numbers don’t lie. They’ve scored 40 goals from just 36.9 expected goals per. The defense isn’t great either but they’ve been a bit unlucky in this department, having conceded 46 despite having an expected goals against value of 41.3.
What’s obvious here is that Orlando City haven’t played like the 5th best side in their conference. There’s been a lot of luck involved in their run-in to this point. They now need to capitalize on that luck. They’ve beaten New York City this season and even though their opponents are looking like their old self again, they’ve not fully recovered from the tough couple of weeks that they suffered prior to that. Orlando City need to go into this game with some fight from the off and shake their opponents a little before taking their chances when they come.
|Teams||New York City FC vs Orlando City SC|
|Location||Red Bull Arena|
|Time||Saturday, October 2 at 1 pm ET onwards|
|How to watch||ESPN+, DAZN, YES Network and Fox 35 Plus|
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Varun is a web journalist who has been writing on sports for 13 years. He took a shine for the MLS during the 2021 season and has been following it and writing about it since, alongside his work involving the English Premier League, La Liga, and the Serie A. He is deeply interested in soccer analytics and strategy and has aspirations to move into coaching at some point. Email: [email protected]More info on Varun Shetty
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