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(Photo by Steve Conrad - Double G Media)

(Photo by Steve Conrad – Double G Media)

NEW YORK, NY — Since taking over as head coach of Orlando City last year, former NYCFC coach Jason Kreis has yet to lose against his former team, whom he feels was “unfair and downright irrational in his firing.”

A Tale of Two 2015 Expansion Teams

Upon entering the league in 2015, NYCFC and Orlando City SC were rivals for no other reason than they were both new teams. Over the past two season, a common question asked is who the better 2015 expansion team is? As discussed in a previous article, it is hard to determine who has been the better organization.

Coming into this season, NYCFC had a leg up on Orlando City in the performance department, as they made the playoffs in 2016 while Orlando did not. However, Orlando City did win the race to get a new stadium, as Orlando City stadium is a state-of-the-art beauty.

In their seven matches against one another, Orlando City has the edge, as their 4-2-1 record against NYCFC is rather impressive. Furthermore, since Kreis’ entrance as manager, Orlando City has not lost against NYCFC. Will Sunday afternoon be more of the same for Orlando City?

In their last eleven home matches, NYCFC is undefeated, winning nine and drawing two. For Orlando City, playing on the road has not been friendly. In their last seventeen regular season road matches, Orlando City has only recorded two wins, showing that anywhere out of the Sunshine State is not a place they want to play.

Andrea Pirlo (Photo by Tom Horak - Double G Media)

Andrea Pirlo (Photo by Tom Horak – Double G Media)

Three Things To Watch For

  1. Can NYCFC Stop Cyle Larin?
  • Since breaking into the league, Cyle Larin has scored more goals against NYCFC (seven) than any other team in the league. With the defense undergoing reshaping due to Ronald Matarrita’s injury, it will be interesting to see how NYCFC try to defend Larin. (Keep in mind that Larin had the lone goal in the season opener this year.)
  1. Who Replaces Matarrita and What Formation Do NYCFC Play?
  • Earlier this week, I outlined the options NYCFC had to replace Ronald Matarrita at left-back. Heading into the game, look to see who gets the nod to start and how do they play. On top of that, does Vieira play a three-back with Matarrita out or does he stick with four at the back?
  1. Andrea Pirlo
  • Over the past few weeks, speculation has grown about Andrea Pirlo’s performance at NYCFC, leaving a few writers to make claims that it is time to bench the 37-year old. For me, I believe that Pirlo needs to play higher up in the midfield. It will be curious to see how long Pirlo plays during tomorrow’s match and, more importantly, how well does Pirlo play, as a bad performance made constitute a move to the bench for the Italian.

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