If you thought Orlando City SC‘s midweek fixture with Toronto FC was important, Sunday’s match-up with New York City FC takes on even greater significance now.
Right now, Orlando City SC are below the line in seventh place (28 points, 25 played) in and around an area they have dwelt all season long.
Facing Eastern Conference rivals D.C. United at Camping World Stadium on the final day of the season (October 23rd) with Ben Olsen’s side sitting directly above Orlando City SC right now (29 points, 25 played), a win or bust Playoff shootout looks a distinct possibility.
In order to avoid the stress and trauma of a make or break final day, Orlando City SC need some victories under their belt right now but in New York City FC, the Lions face a huge test with NYCFC having spent most of the season on top.
Knocked off their perch by new table toppers Toronto FC courtesy of their 1-2 victory in Central Florida this week, NYCFC will have the bit between their teeth.
That said, Orlando City SC are undefeated against their Empire State opposition in the last three meetings, racking up a positive seven from nine points in the process.
Without further ado, let us dive straight into the rest of the stats that matter heading into this mammoth encounter for everybody connected with Orlando City SC.
2015/16 head-to-head stats
Who could forget the drama of Orlando City SC‘s most recent meeting with New York City FC?
It’s quite a statement when Kevin Molino‘s spectacular 94th minute equaliser at Yankee Stadium probably only ranks in as the third most dramatic stoppage time goal scored by Orlando City SC so far this season.
Probably trumped by Adrian Winter‘s incredibly unlikely leveller against Real Salt Lake on the opening day and of course Kaká‘s 110th minute – yes, 110th minute – penalty kick winner against Toronto FC first time around, we’re not taking anything away from Molino.
Making it 2-2 against NYCFC back in May, we all know that we’ve seen this scoreline way too much this season but this one was truly felt like a win!
New York City FC 2 Orlando City SC 2 – Highlights – May 29, 2016 (Credit: New York City FC)
Stoppage time goals in Orlando City SC versus New York City FC fixtures are not in short supply, not one jot!
While Kevin Molino‘s equaliser to make it 2-2 was unbelievable in it’s own right, who could forget the day where it all began in Major League Soccer?
Add a 93rd minute Mix Diskerud goal into the equation from the sides’ second meeting last year and you’ll realise that nobody should be switching channels when it hits the 90 minute mark in this fixture!
While New York City FC have undoubtedly made great strides in becoming the more successful 2015 expansion side under Patrick Vieira this term, Orlando City SC‘s record against NYCFC is positive.
Only sampling a single loss against New York City FC in FIVE MLS meetings to date, this psychology will prove vital heading into this one.
At the back end of last season in the penultimate game of the season no less, Adrian Heath‘s Lions knew they had to win against NYCFC to stand any remote chance of making the 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Securing a cracking 2-1 comeback on that occasion, it’s this kind of spirit and desire that is required on Sunday!
In truth however, the usually ruthless Cyle Larin struggled in the game for the most part with two missed early chances denting his confidence.
That said, he did bounce back from those chances to register in the second-half but the better news is that he enjoys facing New York City FC more than most opposition!
Scoring AT LEAST ONE GOAL in THREE of his last FOUR appearances against New York City FC, Larin has actually stuck SIX goals past NYCFC over those fixtures.
His solitary goal at Yankee Stadium back on March 18th 2016 still represents Orlando City SC‘s only away victory in MLS this 2016 campaign.
New York City FC 0 Orlando City SC 1 – Highlights – March 18, 2016 (Credit: New York City FC)
Orlando City SC form
With that strangely forgettable 0-0 draw with Houston Dynamo proving the exception, SIX of Orlando City SC‘s last SEVEN home fixtures have featured OVER 2.5 GOALS.
Unfortunately of late, the opposition have tipped the balance in the scoring charts with the 1-3 defeat to Seattle Sounders and 1-2 loss to Toronto FC meaning our undefeated 17-game streak at Camping World Stadium is a distant memory.
Looking at Orlando City SC‘s form against their Eastern Conference rivals this season, it’s a mirror image when it comes to the stats.
FOUR wins, EIGHT draws and FOUR losses.
Entirely the reason the Lions have been in and around the sixth to seventh place mark all season long, there have simply been way too many draws.
With Orlando City SC‘s backline suffering multiple lapses in concentration yet again on Wednesday against Toronto FC, they simply need to improve with joint MLS Golden Boot leader David Villa (16 goals) in town on Sunday evening.
New York City FC form
Orlando City SC absolutely cannot afford to lose Sunday night’s game to New York City FC or else their MLS Cup Playoff qualification hopes will be fading quickly.
The good news however is that despite New York City FC still being in the lofty position of second place in the Eastern Conference, they’ve only won ONE of their last FIVE road games in MLS.
That said, they’ve scrapped to record TWO draws in their last two away fixtures before beating LA Galaxy 1-0 at home in Gameweek 24.
Every Orlando City SC supporter knows that it’s three points we need at all costs and not one at the moment however.
New York City FC 1 LA Galaxy 0 – Highlights – August 20, 2016 (Credit: New York City FC)