Undefeated in their last four games, New York City FC look to move back atop the Eastern Conference when they take on Orlando City SC at Camping World Stadium Sunday at 7 p.m.
A great 1-0 win over the LA Galaxy on Saturday, the Club’s fourth consecutive win at Yankee Stadium, maintained NYCFC’s spot atop the East after the weekend with 41 points, although Toronto FC moved into first following a win 2-1 win over host Orlando City SC on Wednesday.
David Villa’s sixth-minute goal, his 16th of the season, was the difference for NYCFC, which dug deep defensively to pitch their seventh clean sheet of the season.
While NYCFC is surging at home, going 4-1-1 in their last six, they still have the best road form in the league with a 6-4-3 mark. Orlando City SC has been particularly tough to beat at home, losing just two of their 13 games at Camping World Stadium.
“It is a really difficult task for us, going there is a difficult place. It’s a really good team and it will be difficult for us to go there and try to play our game,” NYCFC coach Patrick Vieira said. “But it’s not going to be more difficult than going to Columbus, not going to be more difficult than the last game we played against LA. It is going to be another challenge, a different one, but we have to prepare ourselves.”
Orlando City SC sits in seventh place in the East, just below the playoff line with 28 points and come into the game winless in their last four.
This is the third meeting between the rivals this year with NYCFC only taking one point from the two previous games at Yankee Stadium.
Cyle Larin scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over NYCFC on March 18 and the teams played to a 2-2 draw on May 29 with Frederic Brillant and Villa staking the hosts to a two-goal lead before Julio Baptista and Kevin Molino scored to level late.
Molino’s goal came at the death and was the fifth time Orlando City SC scored past the 90th minute on the season.
“I think we played some really good football against them,” Vieira said. “I think our lack of concentration in some periods, we give them the goals and help them to create the opportunities they create. When you play against a team like that where they have some really talented players, especially up front, you need to be focused and concentrate for 95 minutes.”
While Villa and Sebastian Giovinco are atop the league’s goal scoring list, Larin is within striking distance with 13 goals, including two game-winners. He has six goals in four appearances against NYCFC.
“Cyle is a pure goal scorer,” fullback RJ Allen said. “We have a lot of respect for him and he’s done pretty well against us, scored quite a few goals. We’re going to have to be sharp in the back and hopefully we can get another zero.”