Orlando City-FC Cincinnati Preview

National Sports

Orlando City have new ownership, and the Wilf family have outlined their intention to take the Lions to the top of MLS.

The Wilf family consortium – brothers Mark and Zygi and cousin Lenny – own the Minnesota Vikings and have part ownership in Nashville SC. Last month, they completed the purchase of Orlando.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash with FC Cincinnati, Orlando sit second in the Eastern Conference, and Mark Wilf believes success is just around the corner.

“Short term, we’re buying this club in the midst of the season. And we know our fans want, and we want, to win a championship. So we’ll do whatever we can to provide for that,” said Wilf.

“Beyond that, we have three great supporter groups, a great supporters section, great fans. We’ll make sure the fan experience is exciting so people can come out to games here.

“We love the support. People that haven’t been out here already should know that it’s a party atmosphere, it’s exciting. So we’re going to grow that as well.”

For now, Orlando’s focus will be on Cincinnati. Jaap Stam’s side are without a win in seven games, having failed to score in their last three – though two of those were goalless draws.

“I think we defended very well because we didn’t concede. It’s a very positive thing,” Stam said after Wednesday’s draw against New York Red Bulls.

“Sometimes, you can’t always defend in a very modern way, a very nice way. Sometimes you need to have a little bit of luck. Sometimes you need to dig in.

“We are very happy with how the team performed and how they defended. Because I think getting a clean sheet is a very good result and a very important one as well.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

FC Cincinnati – Kenneth Vermeer

Cincinnati have twice kept consecutive clean sheets this season, with Kenneth Vermeer in goal for all four of them. The Dutchman made three saves against the Red Bulls.

Orlando City – Nani

Nani attempted five shots and created five chances, including the assist on Orlando’s lone goal, against Inter Miami on Wednesday. He has scored eight goals so far this term.

KEY OPTA FACTS

·The match against Miami was the fourth time Nani has recorded at least five shots and five chances created in a game in MLS while no other Orlando player has done so even once.

·Orlando has won two of their three meetings with FC Cincinnati, both at home. The other meeting, a 1-1 draw, was the lone meeting between the sides in Cincinnati.

·Cincinnati has played five draws in its last seven matches (L2) after a pair of scoreless draws against D.C. United and the Red Bulls. The only team to play three straight goalless regular season matches in MLS history was Colorado in March 2015.

·Orlando lost, 5-0, at New York City FC on July 25 in its last away match. The Lions haven’t lost consecutive games on the road since loss to Colorado and Inter Miami in March and August 2020, respectively.

·Cincinnati has kept consecutive clean sheets for the second time this season, also doing so in consecutive wins over Chicago and Toronto in late June. This is the sixth time Cincinnati has kept consecutive clean sheets in MLS, but they’ve never managed to do so in three straight games.

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