New York Red Bulls fans have been in festive mood after the first winning streak of the 2016 season (no jinx, I swear). Before the 4-0 rout of FC Dallas, RBNY had gone after Orlando City to beat them 3-2, ushering in a new (hopefully not brief) era of winning in 2016. This week on Viernes de Futbol, the Red Bulls head to the Citrus Bowl to take on Orlando City, in the Lions' den.
Last year, New York fans will remember that a 2-0 victory was found in Florida, and will hope for a repeat last year. Orlando City has had a shaky start, and after already being beaten by RBNY this season, NY fans are more at ease, with Orlando fans more on their toes. The Lions have sputtered so far this season: four of their eight games so far have ended in ties, and the other four are split evenly between wins (two) and losses (two). They currently sit fourth in the Eastern Conference and 13th overall with 10 points.
Despite being in a better position currently than NY, the boys in white will show no fear in this matchup since they carry a reasonably fresh memory of taking all three points off this opponent. However, Kaka did not feature in the first go-round between these teams this year. OCSC will hope his return to the lineup tilts the field their way in this game.
Michael Citro, founder and Managing Editor of "The Mane Land," SB Nation's Orlando City publication, was gracious enough to sit down with Once a Metro to answer a few questions:
Last time Red Bulls visited Orlando City, they walked away with a 2-0 win at the Citrus Bowl. What are the general feelings that the fans have about this matchup, especially since the team had just lost to New York less than two weeks ago?
Fans haven't forgotten how last year's home match against the Red Bulls went. They haven't forgotten Sacha Kljestan's ridiculous flop that got Cyle Larin sent off. I think there's a lot of dislike directed toward New York because of that game. However, Kaká's return certainly gives Orlando City fans hope that the Lions can grab a result against RBNY. The 5-2 win at Red Bull Arena sticks in everyone's minds as one of the high points of last season. Orlando fans would like nothing more than a similar beatdown of the Red Bulls in this game.
Half of Orlando City's games have ended in a draw this season. Can you explain what you and other fans believe might have caused this? Could it be something about integrating new players or strategies, perhaps some refereeing mistakes?
Certainly officiating has played a role. Orlando City had a goal waved off in the 2-2 opener against Real Salt Lake. There was an obvious foul on Larin in the box late in the 1-1 tie against Chicago. And the phantom handball on Servando Carrasco in the New England match definitely turned a 2-1 lead into a 2-2 draw. Last week's draw against the Revs on the road was a case of the Lions rescuing a point with a late goal, so it felt a little more like a win. Every one of those games was there for the taking and Orlando City must learn to put teams away when they have the chance.
What do Orlando City fans think about the Aurelien Collin trade, especially since it seems to have been too good to be true for RBNY fans?
There's a large cross-section of Orlando City fans who never understood why Collin wasn't playing. I've heard all kinds of conspiracy theories about this, but the plain truth is that Seb Hines beat him out in camp. Insiders I've spoken to have said they believe that Adrian Heath never thought Collin's style was a good fit for his system, as he has a tendency to aggressively step up, causing the back line to lose its shape. I've also heard that some players were never sure where he'd be on the pitch so they had trouble building chemistry.
But Collin was a good soldier who played hard and did everything he could on the pitch. The fans respected that. Many feel the team got too little in return for him, but clearing half his salary, opening an international slot and adding a draft pick beats holding on to an unhappy bench player with a high salary until his contract expires. Collin wanted to go somewhere else where he had a better chance of getting minutes and the team obliged, even trading him within the conference. I think everyone got what they wanted, more or less.
With Kaka and Nocerino back in the lineup, do you think the tactics will change for this upcoming game against the New York Red Bulls?
Yes. I expect Orlando City to change shape, either to a 4-2-3-1, a 4-3-3 or a 4-3-2-1 rather than a 4-4-2. I think the Lions will press higher and try to keep more of the possession rather than relying on the counter. Kaká and Nocerino should help the team keep composure when the Red Bulls apply their high pressure, buying time for the lines to get into space and present passing targets. I don't think we'll see nearly as many turnovers as Orlando had two weeks ago. That said, the Red Bulls are playing very well in the midfield right now and the Lions will need to do a better job of denying Kljestan and Grella the ball. If they do those things, they should make a match out of this.
And lastly, what do you think of the Citrus Bowl's new name of Camping World Stadium? Do you think it is that inTENTse?
It sucks, but I guess if it pays the bills... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. The Lions will move into their own stadium next season and hopefully it will have a much better-sounding name.
And there you have it! We at Once a Metro would like to thank Michael Citro for helping us get the perspective of Orlando City for this Week 10 match!