Preview: New York Red Bulls (h).
When? Wednesday 27th July, 4.30 p.m. PT, 7.30 p.m. ET and 00:30 BST (28/7).
Where? Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL.
How can I catch the action? The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ for residents of North America. The game is not scheduled for UK broadcast.
It's not overstating things to say that this is the biggest game of Orlando City's season. Their performances in MLS have left a lot to be desired, and the US Open Cup is their only realistic path to glory.
The pressure is on Oscar Pareja to ensure his team performs on Wednesday evening. If they don't, and the Lions are sent packing, you get the feeling that the Colombian could be on borrowed time, given the state of recent results.
This is a massive game. If you're reading this, and haven't yet bought a ticket, I'd strongly urge you to do so. Unfortunately a few thousand miles of ocean stand in the way of me getting there. I'd given anything to be on the Wall Wednesday evening. This could be a defining moment in our club's history.
The Red Bull's style
I think we're all well versed in how the Red Bulls play, particularly as we've struggled to cope with it so much over recent seasons. Gerhard Struber's team love to press teams high; they never let you settle on the ball. The Red Bulls are the joint best team in MLS in terms of successful tackles (figure 1). Which says it all really.
They win the ball back and hit you on transition very quickly. They don't create a huge amount of chances (figure 2). But they are clinical when the chances come along; they have 34 goals from an XG of 32.60.
Orlando are up against it in this one. They can't give anything silly away.
Figure 1 shows the Red Bull's successful tackling rank overall in MLS.
Figure 2 shows the Red Bull's chance creation ranking.
The Red Bulls are set to be without AJ Marcucci through injury, but otherwise have a fully available squad to choose from.
Orlando City on the other hand are without Joey Dezart and Mason Stajduhar through injury. Noco Gioacchini is available for selection. Ivan Angulo will not be available for selection following his arrival from Palmeiras.
Possible starting XI
I'd expect rotation for both sides, given the hectic nature of their respective schedules. That being said, I don't expect Gerhard Struber's team to deviate from their usual 4-2-3-1 formation:
The former Celtic and Fort Lauderdale winger has settled in well at Red Bull Arena. He's in fine form this season, having scored 9 and assisted 2 across 20 appearances. He has a fotmob.com rating of 7.41 on the season so far. He is just as dangerous cutting inside as he is on the overlap. Morgan has outperformed his XG of 7.20, which speaks to how clinical he has been in front of goal. He's created 27 chances for his teammates so far and is a key piece for the Red Bulls offence.
The Red Bulls head into this one on the back of 3 wins in 5, a run which has taken them to 3rd in the east. Triumphed 3-0 in the Hudson River derby in the last round.
Orlando City, however, are winless in 3 and have only won 1 game in 6. They are 5th with a 8-6-8 record. Beat Nashville on penalties in the last round.
*All statistics courtesy of fotmob.com
Cover image courtesy of Orlando City SC.
Line-up graphic courtesy of chosen11.com.