Orlando City SC host New England Revolution at the Exploria Stadium on Sunday in the Eastern Conference semi-finals of the 2020 MLS Cup.
The winner of this fixture will face either Columbus Crew or Nashville to decide the Eastern Conference's representation in the MLS Cup Championship Game on 12 December.
Orlando City advanced to the conference semi-finals by narrowly edging New York City in a thrilling penalty shootout that had one of the craziest endings.
The Lions were already down to 10 men when they received another huge setback; goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was sent-off during the shootout for encroachment after making what would have been the game-winning save. But what happened next was a miracle.
Defender Rodrigo Schlegel stepped into Gallese's shoes and made a save to everyone's disbelief as the club from Florida stood tall over the New Yorkers, winning the shootout 6-5.
On the other hand, New England Revolution experienced smooth sailing in their playoff fixture against Philadelphia Union, winning 2-0 with first-half goals from Adam Buksa and Tajon Buchanan.
Interestingly, Philadelphia had won the regular season of the MLS while New England qualified for the playoffs in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
The unpredictable magic of the playoffs was on display once again as the Bostoners shocked the conference-topping Pennsylvanians despite having less possession.
Orlando City vs New England Revolution Head-to-Head
Orlando City don't have the best record against New England Revolution, winning only three out of the 12 games played between the two sides in all competitions. New England won four of those fixtures, with the other five ending in a draw.
City and New England are yet to meet in 2020. The two sides met three times in 2019; with Orlando winning the US Open Cup encounter. The two MLS fixtures produced a win for New England and a draw.
Orlando City SC form guide: D(W)-L-W-W-L
New England Revolution form guide: W-W-L-W-L
Orlando City vs New England Revolution Team News
Unfortunately for head coach Oscar Pareja, Orlando City’s appeal to overturn goalkeeper Pedro Gallese’s second yellow card against NYCFC was overturned. He will remain suspended and miss the game against New England. In addition, right-back Ruan Gregorio Teixeira was sent off in the playoff game and will be unavailable on Sunday.
Joao Moutinho and Dom Dywer are unavailable for Orlando City with injuries.
Injuries: Dom Dywer, Joao Moutinho
Suspensions: Pedro Gallese, Ruan Gregorio Teixeira
New England boss Brune Arena has long-term injury concerns of his own as Luis Caicedo and Cristian Penilla remain sidelined with knee and foot injuries respectively.
Injuries: Luis Caicedo, Cristian Penilla
Orlando City vs New England Revolution Probable XI
Orlando City SC predicted XI (4-4-2): Brian Rowe (GK); Kamal Miller, Antonio Carlos, Robin Jansson, Kyle Smith; Christopher Mueller, Junior Urso, Mauricio Pereyra, Nani; Tesho Akindele, Daryl Dike
New England Revolution Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Matt Turner (GK); Tajon Buchanan, Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, DeJuan Jones; Scott Caldwell, Matt Polster; Teal Bunbury, Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou; Adam Buksa
Orlando City vs New England Revolution Prediction
Goals are always in abundant supply whenever Orlando City meet the New England Revolution. The 12 games between the two sides have seen as many as 52 goals, at an average of more than four goals per game.
The last game between the two teams was packed with drama as it ended 3-3. That high-scoring draw came about after Orlando overturned a 3-1 half-time deficit.
Considering their regular season form and home advantage, Orlando City should be the favorites. But The Revs are more than capable of producing a shock result, as they did against Philadelphia.
The odds on this semi-final going the distance and beyond into extra time and perhaps even penalties are quite high. However, we believe that Orlando City will emerge as the winner in the end.
Prediction: Orlando City to win in extra timePublished 27 Nov 2020, 23:48 IST