Orlando City (10-10-6, 33 pts.) begins the build-up to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final this week, with two huge MLS home matches preceding the big night on September 7. The Lions begin with New York City FC (13-7-6, 45 pts.), their long-time rivals who again look like one of the league’s strongest sides. The match, presented by Walt Disney World, is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on FS1 and Fox Deportes. Local commentary will be available on the radio from 7 p.m. ET on FM 96.9 the Game in English and Acción 97.9 FM in Spanish.
Here’s everything you need to know about NYCFC:
Key Additions - CB Thiago Martins (Yokohama F. Marinos), F Gabriel Pereira (Corinthians)
Key Departures - Head Coach Ronny Deila (Standard Liège), CF Taty Castellanos (Girona, loan), CB/DM James Sands (Rangers, loan), RW Jesús Medina (CSKA Moscow), RW Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (LAFC)
Take a look at New York City’s full roster here.
NYCFC bid farewell to its best player this summer, with 2021 MLS Golden Boot winner Taty Castellanos departing for La Liga club Girona. Castellanos had been on an unending heater since the start of last season, putting past inconsistency behind him to rack up 35 goals and 10 assists in 52 appearances including the postseason. Castellanos also helped NYCFC lift last year’s MLS Cup, the first major trophy in club history. Brazilian striker Heber, back from an ACL tear, seems to be the man to replace Taty at center forward.
The Pigeons went on a tear after being knocked out of the CONCACAF Champions League, at one point going 11-1-4 over a 16-game stretch. However, with Castellanos gone and former manager Ronny Deila off to Belgium, NYCFC has struggled, going 1-3-1 in its past five games. New York City did snap a three-game losing skid with a 2-0 win in Chicago last weekend.
Orlando City and NYCFC have faced each other more than any other opponent in their respective histories. In 20 meetings in all competitions, the two sides are dead even, with six wins, six losses and eight draws for each team. Orlando does have the two biggest wins in the series, though, knocking NYCFC out of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup via the famous “Running of the Wall” via penalty-kick shootout and doing one better in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs with Rodrigo Schlegel’s heroic shootout save.
Rasmussen University Fact
Orlando City has a solid record against defending MLS Cup champions, going 4-4-1 overall with a +5 goal differential in its history. That record includes a 4-0 thumping of the LA Galaxy in 2015, a 4-1 victory over the Portland Timbers in 2016 and a thrilling 3-2 win against the Columbus Crew last season that saw Júnior Urso break the deadlock in the 69th minute to carry the Lions to victory.