clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

PREVIEW: New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC

The two newest teams in MLS. Both undefeated. Get ready for a Friday night bloodbath in the Bronx.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Remember this one?

What a smasher. In the very first competitive NYCFC game ever, no doubt. But here's the thing: we all know that Mix didn't do anything close to that for the whole rest of 2015.

But I was playing FIFA 16 last night, messing around with tonight's matchup against the Lions of Orlando, and this happened:

America, THIS IS FATE.

Mix is going to score in tonight's game. We know this now.

So, what else do we know?

The Lions of Orlando have registered a draw, a loss, and a win against New York City coming into tonight's primetime throwdown under the lights at Yankee Stadium. And just like Patrick Vieira's Blues, they enter the affair having escaped their first two matches of 2016 without a loss.

It ought to be noted, of course, that Orlando City is also still waiting for its first win.

"I thought we played too slow, I thought we were too deep," OCSC gaffer Adrian Heath said of last Friday's 1-1 draw at home against Chicago. His diagnosis is correct: Chicago's David Accam literally ran right past the Lions. New York City, with its newly-found preference for youth and athleticism, ought to be giddy with morbid excitement.

Patrick Vieira noted this week that his team had been practicing not just in the 4-3-3 and 3-2-2-3 ("W-M") shapes we've seen this year, but also in a funky-fresh 3-3-4 setup. Four forwards! If this Orlando team is as susceptible to hard-and-fast pressure to its back line as it looked against the Fire, we could be strapping ourselves in for something akin to last July's 5-3 barn-burner at Yankee Stadium, when a Cyle Larin hat trick wasn't enough to stop a furious NYCFC attack led by David Villa, Kwadwo Poku, Tommy McNamara, and Andrea Pirlo.

Any possible fireworks tonight will be tempered by the fact that Orlando wizard Kaka and New York City deadbeat absentee father Frank Lampard figure to be unavailable due to injury concerns. But with Villa and Larin's punishing tendencies in full force -- the two combined for 35 goals last season, and have two apiece through two games in 2016 -- the scoreboard operator might be halfway to carpal-tunnel before the end of the first 45 minutes.

At the back, New York City will look to take advantage of the full returns of speedy center back Jefferson Mena and veteran fullback Andoni Iraola. Vieira noted that his team had spent time this week practicing in a back three defensive unit featuring, left to right, Ronald Matarrita, Mena or Ethan White, and Iraola. After coming up short in search of a third and decisive goal in last weekend's draw against Toronto, Vieira's plan appears simple: get the ball, get forward, and dominate the game early.

On that account, the newly-arrived Stiven Mendoza will be one to watch. His blazing speed is matched by his aggressiveness, and Vieira took notice from the jump.

"He will be a part of the squad tomorrow," Vieira said of the Corinthians loanee. "I was really pleased with the way he played his 15 minutes against Toronto."

Given the way David Accam shredded the Lions with pure athleticism last Friday, tonight might be the perfect stage for Mendoza to officially announce his arrival.


New York City

OUT: RJ Allen, Connor Brandt, Jack Harrison


Orlando City

OUT: Conor Donovan, Bryan Rochez

QUESTIONABLE: Kaka, David Mateos, Carlos Rivas




New York City 3, Orlando City 2, Iron Lion Firm 0.