Game preview | Orlando City vs. New England

After conceding a late goal to fall 2-1 on the road to the Philadelphia Union last week, Orlando City looks to remain undefeated at the Citrus Bowl.

The Lions (2-1-2, 8 points) host the New England Revolution on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN.

“They play very similar to ourselves. They’ve got a lot of talent in the forward areas, they have a bit of everything, they’ve got a bit of pace, a bit of size and athleticism,” Orlando City coach Adrian Heath said. “It’s going to be a difficult game for us, but as I’ve said before, I’m more than confident when we play at home that we can get a result against anybody.”

The Revs  (1-1-4, 7 points) have yet to win on the road, which gives City somewhat of an advantage to their unbeaten record at home. New England battled to a 1-1 draw against Toronto FC last week at Gillette Stadium. Diego Fagundez currently leads New England with two goals.

While Orlando will look to keep its momentum at home going, Heath is tasked with a game-time decision on whether to start Cyle Larin (hamstring), Cristian Higuita (groin) and Tommy Redding (concussion), who all missed last week’s game at Talen Energy Stadium against Philadelphia.

Even if those injured players end up playing, depth will remain a factor in Heath’s starting lineup.

The midfield is currently stacked with Darwin Cerén and Servando Carrasco recently performing well. While Antonio Nocerino is still getting acclimated to the MLS play style, the Italian does bring a level of expertise to Orlando’s starting XI. Kevin Molino has finally scored and shares a team-high of two assists.

Adrian Winter has become somewhat of a dark horse for the team. The attacking midfielder started on the bench for Week 1, but has gone on to make four consecutive starts, which includes scoring the Lions’ lone goal last week at Philadelphia.

Ricardo Kaká is expected to make his third-consecutive start this season after missing the first three games of MLS because of a strained thigh. The Brazilian star has totaled a goal and two assists this season.

Brek Shea, who did not play at Philadelphia because of suspension, will return to his left back role on Sunday. Júlio Baptista will more than likely start the game on the bench, but does provide attacking depth along with UCF alumnus Hadji Barry. 

Orlando City defeated MLS Cup champions Portland Timbers 4-1 last time they played at the Citrus Bowl. Overall, the Lions are unbeaten at home since Aug. 1, 2015, with a 5-0-4 record.

What are your expectations of the game? Share your comments and score predictions in the comments section below.

Follow Mike Gramajo on Twitter (@byMikeGramajo). For more, also follow the OSJ on Twitter (@OSJSoccer).

 

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