Preview: New York Red Bulls vs. Orlando City

At the tail-end of a long and gruelling regular season, the Supporters’ Shield race will come down to Decision Day. After 33 matches, only one point separates Atlanta and New York Red Bulls, with both teams on the cusp of breaking the MLS single-season points record of 69 – set just last year by Toronto. What makes this season even more impressive for the Red Bulls is that they had to balance league play with a run to the semifinals of the Champions League.

Heading into the final matchday, the Red Bulls are red-hot and are aiming to make it five victories on the trot with a win against a floundering Orlando City side. Last week New York earned a road win against a potential playoff opponent in Philadelphia. The performance was characteristic of their season under Chris Armas: ugly yet effective. Another shutout for the league-leading defense bodes well for New York’s MLS Cup prospects. This match against Orlando provides Armas with the perfect opportunity to tinker with his tactics ahead of the playoffs.

Orlando are on a record-setting campaign of their own. This season they have allowed 73 goals past them – the most in MLS history. They have won just twice in their last 24 games. At this point in the season, the Orlando players are looking to demonstrate their worthiness of a spot on next year’s roster. They have one final game to prove themselves before the inevitable offseason overhaul. One of those players is Sacha Kljestan, who will return to Red Bull Arena for the first time since he was traded to Orlando last winter.

Last time these two teams met, Orlando came away with a 4-3 victory in what was a wild shootout. The Red Bulls had rotated their entire lineup in preparation for a midweek Champions League match. Had the Red Bulls fielded a full-strength squad, they would most likely be leading the Supporter’s Shield race today. They have a chance to change that narrative on Sunday, should Atlanta slip up in Toronto.

Match Information

Date: Sunday, October 28, 2018

Kick-off: 16:30 (ET) | 9:30 (BST)

Venue: Red Bull Arena

Referee: Ismail Elfath

Broadcasting: MSG (New York) | ESPN + (United States) | MLS Live on DAZN (Canada)

Previous Meetings

05.06.16: Orlando City 1-1 New York Red Bulls

07.13.16: New York Red Bulls  2-0 Orlando City 

04.09.17: Orlando City 1-0 New York Red Bulls

08.12.17: New York Red Bulls 3-1 Orlando City

03.31.18: Orlando City 4-3 New York Red Bulls

Current Form

Orlando City 

Columbus 2-1 (H) | Seattle Sounders 1-2 (H) | New England Revolution 2-0 (A) | Dallas 2-0 (A) | Houston Dynamo 0-0 (H)

New York Red Bulls

Philadelphia Union 0-1 (A) | San Jose Earthquakes 1-3 (A) | Atlanta United 2-0 (H) | Toronto 2-0 (H) | D.C. United 3-3 (A)

Team News

Orlando City 

Injured: Pierre Da Silva (torn meniscus), Jonathan Spector (back), Richie Laryea (concussion)

AbsentMason Stajduhar (Localized Ewing Sarcoma)

Doubtful: Pinho (quad injury)

New York Red Bulls

Injured: Kyle Duncan (anterior cruciate ligament) | Florian Valot (anterior cruciate ligament) | Vincent Bezecourt (medial collateral ligament)

Doubtful: Marc Rzatkowski (calf strain)

Predicted Line-ups

Orlando City

Grinwis

O’ Neill – Sané – Ascues

Sutter – Rosell – Yotún – El Monir

Johnson – Dwyer – Kljestan

New York Red Bulls

Robles

Murillo – Long – Parker – Lawrence

Adams – Davis

Muyl – Romero Gamarra – Royer

Wright-Phillips

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 3-1 Orlando City

[Photo: Reinhold Matay]

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