Preview: NYCFC, Orlando Meet in Battle of Expansion Teams

It seems so recently that we were seeing Mix Diskerud score NYCFC’s first ever goal in franchise history, only for Kaka to negate that with a free kick of his own for Orlando’s first. Both teams shared the spoils as they both looked to take this point and progress from it, but neither team has lived up to gargantuan expectations as NYCFC find themselves eighth in the Eastern Conference with 21 points and Orlando City find themselves sixth in the Eastern Conference with 24 points.

With neither team really having had very much momentum thus far this season, those inconsistencies are likely to follow both teams into this pivotal matchup as both teams are plagued by injuries, and in NYCFC’s case, the absence of Gold Cup participant, Mix Diskerud.

For NYCFC, their injury list is currently set at Connor Brandt, George John, and Tony Taylor with Frank Lampard (!), Ryan Meara, and Khiry Shelton all being questionable to play. Mix Diskerud will be available for Jason Kreis after being used sparingly in the Gold Cup, but it seems unlikely that he will be heavily utilized.

Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel

For NYCFC, this could be the game where latest designated player signing Andrea Pirlo makes his debut, while Kreis continues to hold Lampard back from his debut due to a nagging calf injury.

Orlando City are in a similar position as Sean St. Ledger and Brek Shea are both out with injuries alongside Kevin Molino, Tony Cascio, Harrison Heath, and Martin Paterson.

NYCFC are coming off of a 1-0 loss against the New England Revolution where they were forced to play with ten men for much of the second half due to Ned Grabavoy’s red card while the Chicago Fire beat Orlando City 3-1 in the U.S. Open Cup two days ago. Not only will Orlando City have to play on short rest, but they will have to do it coming off of a demoralizing loss.

Another notable name of Jason Kreis is Jefferson Mena and the impact he could potentially have. Mena, a center back brought in from Colombia, is likely to debut after Josh Williams was placed on waivers to even out the roster as well as with Jason Hernandez serving a one-game suspension.

My predicted lineup for the fixture is this (4-2-3-1)

Saunders, Iraola, Mena, Facey, Angelino, Lampard, Jacobson, McNamara, Pirlo, Ballouchy, Villa.

While a very strong lineup that can only be strengthen by the return of Diskerud, NYCFC has put themselves in a good position to compete in this game and for the remainder of the season after a very active transfer season.

After splitting the first game between the two expansion clubs, the rivalry was born, and with the 300 sections being opened for Sunday’s featured game, we can expect a very loud and intimidating Yankee Stadium.

Predictred Score: 1 (Orlando City), 2 (NYCFC)

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