Following a disappointing 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, New York City FC looks to rebound against a team they haven’t had much success against, at a location where they’ve yet to win: Orlando.
The Blues loss against an RSL side that had won just one of their last nine at home, losing their last four matches straight entering Wednesday and hadn’t scored a goal in over three matches worth of time set them back quite a bit during their current road trip.
“The defeat today is mine,” NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira said to reporters. “It’s me who is responsible for selecting the team. The team selection wasn’t good enough to defeat Real Salt Lake. I was thinking about the three games and the team selection wasn’t good. I take full responsibility for the defeat.”
Sean Okoli, who started in place of captain David Villa, opened the scoring for the Blues in the fourth minute. RSL rallied off goals by Albert Rusnak in the 38th minute and Aaron Maund in the 51st minute.
Villa subbed into the match in the 54th minute and nearly pulled NYCFC even at two.
They were saved, somewhat, by the San Jose Earthquakes pulling a 1-1 draw against Orlando City SC on Wednesday. With the help across the country, the Blues could leapfrog the Lions in the Eastern Conference standings Sunday night with a win.
NYCFC enters Sunday’s match (7 p.m. ET, FS1) coming off its first loss since April 23 — which was against Orlando City — now with more questions about the lineup selection and less momentum than they possibly originally planned. It has never won at Orlando City and have only won one match against its expansion cousins in club history — 5-3 on July 26, 2015, at Yankee Stadium. Orlando City has won four of the last five matches against NYCFC with both teams pulling a 2-2 draw back on May 29, 2016.
Orlando City enter Sunday with struggles of its own. The Lions are winless in their last four matches but have earned a pair of draws in their last two. Considering their history against NYCFC, especially at home, their confidence should be high.