NYCFC vs Orlando City SC preview: Desperate times are here

-NYCFC will face Orlando City SC on Wednesday for the second time this season

-The Pigeons will be desperate for a win, but likely will struggle to score

-Here is a preview of the upcoming fixture

NYCFC / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC knows the time to make the playoffs is still running out.  Everyone knows the team needed to win against the New York Red Bulls in the Hudson River Derby, but instead, a sleepy draw ended up being the outcome.  The result was disappointing, and most would say the 2023 season is basically over.

Nonetheless, five games are remaining.  The Pigeons have a quick turnaround since they have a mid-week meeting with second-place Orlando City SC.  Usually, most years, NYCFC finishes above the Florida team in the Eastern Conference.  This year is quite different as the home team remains in 12th place.

The two 2015 expansion sides first met back in May.  Going into the fixture, the two were equal on points with 15.  The game ended in a 1-1 draw.  Since then, Orlando has earned 35 points.  On the other side, NYCFC has secured merely 16.  Clearly, the Lions are having a formidable season.  As such, the upcoming home match will be a tough one. 

Desperate times are here.  Yet, the outlook is grim.  Here is a look at the upcoming fixture between NYCFC and Orlando.

When is the match between New York City FC and Orlando City SC?

The match will take place on Wednesday, September 20 at 7:30 PM.

Where is the NYCFC game?

The game will take place in Queens, NY at Citi Field.

Where can fans watch the NYCFC game?

Fans can catch NYCFC on Apple TV via the MLS Season Pass. 

What can New York City FC expect from Orlando City?

As mentioned, Orlando City SC has been the stronger team since the two last met.  New York City FC can expect a grueling match and must be on their A-game to beat the Lions.

Game in and game out, goalkeeper Pedro Gallese continues to be a problem for NYCFC attackers.  This includes the previous seasons; the lack of goals does not matter.  Of course, in the scope of Wednesday, the hurdle to score in 2023 will likely make the Orlando keeper’s job easier. 

The Pigeons will also have to deal with Facundo Torres and Duncan McGuire.  The two Orlando attackers have 12 and eight goals, respectively.  In fact, Torres scored in their weekend comeback against the Columbus Crew, and he came off the bench.  The two players will be a major threat.  If NYCFC cannot stop them, then a loss will be on the horizon.

Which NYCFC player should supporters watch?

NYCFC supporters should watch Matt Freese.  The goalkeeper has shown glimpses of his talent in his few starts this year.  It also appears Nick Cushing believes he deserves the chance, and that is why he has started the last three matches.

Freese kept two clean sheets in those starts and made seven total saves.  He has only allowed one goal, which came in the draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps.  Moreover, his passing abilities have quickly improved over the last couple of months.  This aids with the City Football Group's basis of possession-based football. 

His recent form is a reason enough for Freese to start again.  Will that happen?  It depends on whether Nick Cushing puts out the right goalkeeper in the Starting XI.

What is the prediction for New York City FC?

These are desperate times for New York City FC.  They have to face a talented Orlando City while they continue to struggle in the goal-scoring department.  Bad luck has plagued the team as well throughout 2023.

With that in mind, the prediction is that NYCFC will lose, 2-1.  The Pigeons will score, but Orlando’s defense will hold them to one goal. 

The pressure to win is on.  Subsequently, the desperation for all three points will backfire and lead to a loss.  The ability to think positively is long gone.  New York City FC is not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.  But the season feels like it is over.