Orlando City SC will look to improve its standing in the race to the MLS playoffs when it travels to play hapless FC Cincinnati on Saturday in a late-season Eastern Conference match.
Orlando City (11-8-9, 42 points) returns from the two-week international break to face a team to which it has never lost. Orlando is 2-0-2 all-time against Cincinnati, winning twice in Florida and drawing twice in Ohio.
The Lions ended a five-match skid without a victory with a rousing 2-1 win at home over D.C. United on Oct. 2. Daryl Dike scored the deciding goal for Orlando, finding the net at the 96:47 mark and producing the latest non-penalty match-winner in MLS this season.
“The players were really united and after dominating the game, being constant in our purpose and idea of the game, one point was not enough for them,” Orlando coach Oscar Pareja said after the win. “I have seen the players grinding and working and pushing and they deserve all the credit.”
It was the latest Orlando City had scored in a regular-season game since 2016. Robin Jansson netted the other tally for Orlando in the 17th minute.
The Lions begin the weekend in fourth place in the East, but are just three points up on eighth-place Atlanta with six matches to play in the regular season.
Cincinnati (4-16-8, 20 points) has not won since beating Toronto 2-0 at home on Sept. 11. Since then it has dropped six straight matches, tying the club’s mark for consecutive defeats, with four of those setbacks have come by a single goal and three of the losses at home.
Cincinnati’s last outing was a 2-1 home loss to Philadelphia on Oct. 9. Haris Medunjanin had the goal for Cincinnati in the 82nd minute, cleaning up after Luciano Acosta’s shot was deflected to him in the box. The defeat officially eliminated FCC from playoff contention.
FC Cincinnati recently concluded a more than two-month search for a new general manager by hiring Chris Albright to the post. Albright was previously the technical director for Philadelphia.
“Hopefully, (Albright) can bring some experienced MLS players who know the league,” Medunjanin said of the GM’s hiring. “It’s very important in this league, and I know they are gonna give him the power to do what’s best for this team.”
Orlando has a nine-match road winless streak (four draws and five losses).
–Field Level Media