soccer | mls

New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC Pick & Prediction NOV 21TH 2020

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Orlando City SC spent their first five years in MLS merely trying to reach the playoffs.

Now that they are finally there, first-year coach Oscar Pareja said he believes they have the mettle to make a deep run. The Lions look to take the first step on Saturday afternoon in their first-round match against New York City FC in Orlando.

While Orlando finished fourth in the Eastern Conference, Pareja pointed to the club's four regular-season losses -- tied with Philadelphia for the fewest in the league -- as a sign that his team will be a difficult foe for any postseason opponent.

"We have been a team that is very tough to play against. We have great numbers about being the team that has lost the least games in the season," Pareja said. "That shows that we can be a team that is tough, that is strong, that has a tough mentality in every single game, playing at home or playing away."

Of course, the reason why the Lions didn't finish as high as Philly is they recorded eight draws instead of additional victories. Orlando City had won three in row prior to a Decision Day defeat against Nashville SC.

Emerging rookie Daryl Dike scored in three of his past four games to bring his season total to eight, giving the Lions another offensive weapon alongside more established talents in Nani and Chris Mueller.

New York has seen its own late-season striker surge from Valentin Castellanos, who has four goals and two assists in the team's past two matches -- both high-scoring NYCFC wins. Those victories helped guide the club to a fifth-place finish and avoid a potential play-in round game.

The visitors also have plenty of experience playing in the Orlando area this season, though with little success. In the MLS is Back Tournament played at ESPN's Wide World of Sports in July, Orlando posted a 3-1 win over NYCFC. The teams then tied 1-1 during a regular-season meeting at Orlando in October.

"I think it's one of the toughest teams," NYCFC first-year coach Ronny Deila said. "I think it's a really good team. So I think, who you play doesn't matter in my opinion, almost. We have played all of them, and it has been tight with all of the teams in front of us."

--Field Level Media

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GAMES

Last 10

W 75% L 25%
6 2
  • @Orlando City SC D 1 - 1
  • @Chicago Fire W 4 - 3
  • New York Red Bulls W 2 - 5
  • @Toronto FC W 1 - 0
  • Montreal Impact W 1 - 3
  • @Columbus Crew SC L 1 - 3
  • @Orlando City SC D 1 - 1
  • New England Revolution L 2 - 1
  • D.C. United W 1 - 4
  • @Inter Miami CF W 3 - 2
W 50% L 50%
3 3
  • New England Revolution L 3 - 1
  • New York City FC D 1 - 1
  • Nashville SC L 3 - 2
  • @Montreal Impact W 1 - 0
  • Atlanta United FC W 1 - 4
  • @Inter Miami CF L 1 - 2
  • @New York Red Bulls D 1 - 1
  • New York City FC D 1 - 1
  • Columbus Crew SC W 1 - 2
  • @Atlanta United FC D 0 - 0

Last Meetings

  • New York City FC @ Orlando City SC 1-1
  • New York City FC @ Orlando City SC 1-1
  • Orlando City SC @ New York City FC 3-1
  • Orlando City SC @ New York City FC 1-1
  • New York City FC @ Orlando City SC 2-2
  • New York City FC @ Orlando City SC 2-0
  • Orlando City SC @ New York City FC 0-2
  • New York City FC @ Orlando City SC 3-0
  • Orlando City SC @ New York City FC 2-1
  • New York City FC @ Orlando City SC 0-1

Last Injuries

Orlando City SC

  • Pedro Gallese

    Suspension
    Out | out

  • Ruan

    Suspension
    Out | out

  • Pedro Gallese

    International Duty
    Probable | probable

  • Oriol Rosell

    Undisclosed
    Probable | probable

New York City FC

New York City FC vs. Orlando City SC

First-half goals for each club left New York City FC and host Orlando City with a 1-1 result on Wednesday night as the Lions extended their club-record unbeaten stretch to 11 games.

Chris Mueller scored in the 18th minute for Orlando (8-2-7, 31 points), which earned a second consecutive draw while going 6-0-5 in its last 11 matches.

NYCFC (8-7-3, 27 points) got a 43rd-minute goal from Keaton Parks. New York City rebounded somewhat from a 2-1 loss to New England last weekend that ended a three-game winning streak.

Both clubs had their chances to break the tie in the second, but their goalies -- NYCFC's Sean Johnson and Orlando's Brian Rowe -- were both solid on the night. That was especially true early in the second half, when the play was more spirited compared to the remainder of the contest, which felt disjointed at times.

Making his 100th MLS start, Rowe was credited with seven saves on the night.

Right out of the gate, Orlando applied some early pressure. Andres Perea had a golden opportunity but hit the side of the net with his chance from inside the box within the first minute.

Orlando kept the pressure coming and was eventually rewarded. Ruan worked the ball all the way down to the goal line before flicking it into the box for Mueller to head home his eighth goal of the season.

New York City, though, did not get down and forged forward despite falling behind. While NYCFC's pressure was not as extensive as that displayed by the Lions, the visitors leveled the match just before halftime when Parks scored into an empty net after maintaining a rebound from a Rowe save of his own shot.

Parks scored for the second time in his past three contests, giving him three goals overall this season.

Johnson was credited with just one save.

--Field Level Media