New York City FC travels to Florida to take on Orlando City following a ten-day break Thursday night.
Here’s Managing Editor Mark Booth with the Major Keys to the Match, presented by Tri-State Ford...
NYCFC and Orlando City are no strangers to one another.
Since the teams both came into the league in 2015, we’ve met on 11 occasions but this marks the first meeting between the two men who'll be prowling the technical areas this week.
Domènec Torrent and James O’Connor are both relatively new to their roles, with the NYCFC boss taking charge of his sixth game (4W 1L) and the new Orlando man taking his fifth match (1W 3L).
Last time the sides faced off in June, it was Patrick Vieira vs. Jason Kreis on the respective benches, meaning this latest chapter in this young rivalry will certainly have a different feel from previous showdowns.
NYCFC’s home form has been beyond reproach all season long but there’s no question our road results has wavered of late.
Defeats at Chicago, Portland and Houston have been in stark contrast to the emphatic victories the Boys in Blue have served up in the BX but we’ve got the perfect chance to put that right this week.
City now face tough back-to-back away games at Orlando and Seattle on Thursday and Sunday, providing a test of mettle for Domenec Torrent on his second and third road trips since joining from Man City.
NYCFC’s last away win came in San Jose at the end of March – a fact which Dome and his players will be eager to put right in the Lion's den.
There have just been signs of late that the Eastern Conference pacesetters are pulling away from the rest of the league.
NYCFC, Atlanta United and Red Bulls look to be locked in a three-way battle for the East, with Columbus Crew five points back from the top three, having played two more games than City.
It’s tight at the top of the Supporters’ Shield standings too, with NYCFC just four points behind leaders Atlanta with two games in hand and a point clear of FC Dallas.
This could be a huge week in setting the table for the MLS Regular Season run-in with Atlanta facing Montreal at the weekend and Red Bulls taking on DC United and Columbus on Wednesday and Saturday respectively.
Tight at the top.
Turning it Around
Once upon a time, our 2015 Expansion cousins were considered a bogey team but we’ve turned things around on that score of late.
City made it three wins on the spin vs. the Lions earlier in the season by a combined score of 8-0 over the trio of games.
This followed a run of five defeats in six to a Cyle Larin-inspired Orlando – some hard times that we’ve hopefully put behind us.
A further boost for Torrent to take into this game will be the returns of Jo Inge Berget, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and David Villa to the training field this week.
Whether or not the attacking trio will be ready for this game or not remains to be seen, but Dome will be delighted to see three of his leading scorers on the road to recovery to bolster his options for a crucial clutch of matches on the horizon.