Orlando City Hits Road In Search of First Win, Lions Face New York FC at Yankee Stadium

By  //  March 17, 2018

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Sacha Kljestan makes Orlando City debut

ABOVE VIDEO: City picked up one point from its first two matches but will be with marquee offseason acquisition and Designated Player Sacha Kljestan for the first time this season. Kljestan has one goal and 10 assists in 10 career games against NYCFC while forward Justin Meram has three goals and four assists in seven appearances.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – Orlando City SC (0-1-1, 1 point) will visit 2015 expansion rival New York City FC (2-0-0, 6 points) in its first road match of the year on Saturday, March 17. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium.

The match will be nationally televised on Univision and streamed live on Twitter (@UnivisionSports and @MLS). The match will also be broadcast in English on FM 96.9 The Game and in Spanish on La Nueva 990 AM.

“Obviously very quality team. Over the last few years, they’ve been proving they’re one of the best teams in the league,” Lions head coach Jason Kreis said.

“This is an opportunity for us to show that we’re quality and we can go and get a result there, we can go and get three points. I think that makes a very big statement about who we are.”

This is the first meeting of the season between the 2015 expansion rivals.

City won its last match at Yankee Stadium 2-1 on April 23, 2017, and has won two of the three season series against NYCFC (2-0-1 in 2016, 2-1-0 in 2017). The Lions are 2-1-1 all-time at Yankee Stadium and are unbeaten in their last three in the Bronx. City’s 5-2-2 all-time record against NYCFC is its best against any MLS opponent.

City picked up one point from its first two matches but will be with marquee offseason acquisition and Designated Player Sacha Kljestan for the first time this season. Kljestan has one goal and 10 assists in 10 career games against NYCFC while forward Justin Meram has three goals and four assists in seven appearances.

Peruvian international Yoshimar Yotún has one goal, while captain Jonathan Spector and Meram have one assist each this season.

ABOVE VIDEO: “This is an opportunity for us to show that we’re quality and we can go and get a result there, we can go and get three points. I think that makes a very big statement about who we are,” said Orlando City manager Jason Kreis. 

Yotún was teammates with current NYCFC forward Jo Inge Berget and defender Anton Tinnerholm at Malmö FF (Sweden) from 2015 to 2017. The match will mark the first time defender RJ Allen faces his former team. Allen made 57 appearances and registered one goal and 11 assists in three seasons with NYCFC before joining the Lions on Dec. 18, 2017.

The Pigeons enter Week 3 with two wins for the first time in their history. NYCFC defeated Sporting KC on Opening Day and then beat the LA Galaxy 2-1 last week.

Tinnerholm, Jesus Media, David Villa and Maximiliano Moralez each have one goal for NYCFC. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson has made five saves and allowed one goal in two games.

New Faces

New York City FC had a quieter offseason in comparison to the Lions but still brought in a few faces to up their talent pool. Most notably, the blues brought in Anton Tinnerholm to play right back from Malmo, and a month later brought in his former teammate at Malmo, Jo Inge Berget, to add depth at forward.

The final notable addition to watch for on Saturday, is Jesus Medina, a young Paraguayan attacking midfielder (seems like a trend these days, right?).

Old Faces in New Places

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Saturday will be the first time the Lions will take on NYC with a few blues no longer with the club. For starters, Jack Harrison, gone. The young winger hopped back across the pond to continue his career in his native England.

One face the New York club will be without is RJ Allen as he made the offseason switch to our side after being with NYC since their inaugural season in 2015. Finally, you’ll probably notice some guy, (okay, legend) Andrea Pirlo retired.

Who is Hot?

NYCFC as a whole is off to their hottest start in franchise history taking six points out of a possible six, a feat the club has never accomplished. No surprise, David Villa has already opened his 2018 account with a goal last week against the Galaxy. Their young Paraguayan acquisition, Jesús Medina, has struck early in the year, bagging a goal in their opener at KC.

Head-to-Head

This is a matchup that is never short on drama and has proven to produce the most results in Orlando City’s short MLS history.

City has won five of its last seven matches and earned seven of nine points in its last three games at Yankee Stadium. The overall record between the two clubs currently stands at 5-2-2 in favor of the Orlando boys.

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