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Orlando City vs. New York City FC | MLS Match Preview

ORLANDO CITY SC vs NEW YORK CITY FC
ORLANDO CITRUS BOWL, Orlando, Fla.
March 8, 2015 (WEEK 1, MLS Game #8)
5 PM ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN)

For the first time in MLS history, two expansion teams will start their league histories against each other as Orlando City FC play host to New York City FC on Sunday afternoon at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Orlando City SC have had a previous existence as a USL club, and featuring one-time FIFA World Player of the Year Kaká, head coach Adrian Heath is looking for great things from the Purple. Jason Kreis -- who led Real Salt Lake to an MLS Cup title -- is guiding the fortunes of NYCFC, who are led by Spanish World Cup winner David Villa.

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REFEREE: Alan Kelly. AR1 (bench): Adam Wienckowski; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
MLS Career: 15 games; FC/gm: 26.3; Y/gm: 2.8; R: 6; pens: 4

SUSPENDED: none
DISABLED LIST: ORL: Martin Paterson
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME:
First meeting.
RETURN MATCHES: 7/26: New York City FC vs. Orlando City FC, 2:30 p.m. ET (FS1); 10/16: Orlando City FC vs. New York City FC, 7 p.m. ET (UniMas)

  • This is the first time in MLS history two incoming expansion teams will face each other in their first ever league match.
  • Three times previously have two expansion clubs kicked off in the same season: 1998 (Chicago Fire and Miami Fusion); 2005 (Chivas USA and Real Salt Lake); 2011 (Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps FC).
  • Coaches record: Jason Kreis vs. ORL: first game ... Adrian Heath vs. NYC: first game

ORLANDO CITY SC
Orlando City SC kick off their inaugural MLS campaign before a full house at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Under head coach Adrian Heath, City feature World Cup champion Kak· after first beginning their existence in the USL.

TEAM NEWS

  • Orlando City SC concluded their first MLS preseason with a 3-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo in their final match of the Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C., their first defeat in their preparation matches.
  • Here's the City team: Donovan Ricketts, Sean St. Ledger, Brek Shea, Rafael Ramos, Aurelien Collin (sent off 29'); Amobi Okugo, Eric Avila (Mena 34'), Darwin Ceren, Kevin Molino, Kaká (Carlos Rivas 61'; sent off 64'); Bryan Rochez (Danny Mwanga 65')
  • "It's not been a good week after only getting 25 minutes on Wednesday, and now having a game where we have two red cards," said Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath. "Obviously a difficult evening, but we've had them before and we'll have them again no doubt. ... This most disappointing thing has been the lack of minutes for some players. [The game] obviously wasn't ideal, but when I look back at it, it was a damage limitation in the end."
  • City SC finished the preseason with two wins and four draws in seven preseason matches, one victory coming against MLS competition in a 4-0 win against FC Dallas.
  • Kaká was named club captain ahead of the MLS season opener. "Kaká has demonstrated great leadership both on the field and in the locker room since the start, and the other players have naturally looked to his guidance throughout preseason so he was the natural pick to skipper the club," said Heath.
  • Kaká netted two goals during the preseason fixtures, scoring his first goal in purple in the win against FC Dallas, and also netted in the 1-1 draw with NYCFC in a preview of the regular season opener.
  • Heath has run out his side in his preferred 4-2-3-1 tactical scheme throughout the preseason. Bryan Rochez was given the start ahead of English veteran Martin Paterson for the final preseason contest, and U.S. international Brek Shea has reprised his new role at left back.
  • City SC also made a key addition in the final days of the preseason, acquiring center back Seb Hines on loan from Middlesbrough FC of the English Premier League. Hines, who has 17 caps for England at youth level, will not occupy an international slot as his father is a U.S. citizen.

NEW YORK CITY FC

  • New York City FC will kick off their inaugural Major League Soccer campaign as the opponents for fellow expansion side Orlando City FC in a first-ever meeting of league newboys. Jason Kreis -- who led Real Salt Lake's rise to MLS power and guided the club to the 2009 MLS championship -- is in charge of the Sky Blues.
  • TEAM NEWS
  • NYCFC concluded their participation in the Carolina Challenge Cup with a 3-0 victory against host Charleston Battery of USL PRO, ending the tournament with a 1-1-1 record. Ned Grabavoy and Adam Nemec scored first-half goals, and Mix Diskerud completed the scoring in the second half.
  • Here's the NYCFC team: Saunders, Brovsky, Wingert, Hernandez (Kwame 65), Williams, Jacobson (Poku 86), Mix, Grabavoy, Ballouchy (McNamara 75), Villa (Shelton 46), Nemec (Calle 62)
  • "I liked that we didn't give up a goal and I liked that we created good chances and scored three goals," head coach Jason Kreis said. "All in all I feel good. We'll take this as a positive and I feel we're headed in the right direction to start the season."
  • Said midfielder Thomas McNamara: "There are definitely things we can take from it, but it's a preseason game at the same time, so you don't read 100 percent into it. It's interesting to play them a few weeks before we play them again."
  • NYCFC's run in the Carolina Challenge Cup included a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo, and a 1-1 draw with Orlando City FC in a season opener preview.
  • Mix Diskerud scored goals against both Charleston and Houston, while David Villa also netted two goals in the preseason, scoring in the draw with Orlando City SC.
  • "I saw a good opponent that was willing and able to punish us on a couple of silly mistakes," Kreis said. "I think we're being just a little bit arrogant about some of the stuff we're trying to play out of. Kaka was getting too much time and space around our final third. As we saw he's a gifted player and he punished us."
  • NYCFC kicked off their inaugural preseason calendar with a pair of matches against European opposition while in Manchester, England, defeating St. Mirren of Scotland 2-0, and losing 2-0 to Brondby of Denmark.
  • "It's been a long year and several months now since my last coaching job and my last opportunity to coach in a competitive match," Kreis said. "The last match was disappointing for me, since we lost in the MLS Cup finals. It's been a long time, it's been a ton of hard work. I really feel we have a good group put together ó we have a terrific staff and we've all worked extremely hard to get the players prepared for what should be a very fun 2015."
     
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