This year’s 4th of July match hosted by FC Dallas will welcome Orlando City to Toyota Stadium for the first time in the club’s history. The two sides have only met on one prior occasion in MLS play, with FC Dallas winning 2-0 last season in Orlando.
After struggling and missing the playoffs in their first MLS season, Orlando City have begun the 2016 season in better form, although they currently sit in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 20 points. With only 15 matches played so far, Orlando City is tied with Chicago and Columbus for the fewest games played in the MLS.
Orlando City’s 4-3-8 (W-L-D) record includes a current five-match unbeaten run in MLS action, with the run comprised of two wins (over Toronto and Montreal) and three 2-2 draws.
Leading scorer Cyle Larin has bagged eight goals for Orlando City, building off an impressive rookie campaign in which the young Canadian netted 17 times.
Star midfielder Kaká has three goals and five assists in limited action this season, although he is expected to play on Monday night. Longtime Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino has had a fantastic start to his sixth season in the purple and white, with six goals and five assists so far for the Trinidad and Tobago international.
It will be Molino’s play in the midfield against Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz and others that will dictate the level of success that Orlando City will have against Dallas.
Goalkeeper Joe Bendik has started all 15 MLS matches for Orlando City, conceding an average of 1.67 goals per match. Defender Brek Shea is set to return to Toyota Stadium in opposing colors in a new position, as he was a vital part of the FC Dallas attack just four years ago.
Orlando City were also in action this past week in the Round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (LHUSOC), losing 2-1 at home in an upset to the North American Soccer League’s (NASL) Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
Changes to the starting lineup were made by manager Oscar Pareja for FC Dallas’ midweek LHUSOC victory over Colorado with an eye on keeping players fresh for the visit of Orlando City. Maynor Figueroa should return to his starting spot at left back for this match, while Barrios, Victor Ulloa and Maxi Urruti should start after beginning Wednesday’s cup match on the bench.
Goalkeeper Chris Seitz is expected to start for FC Dallas again, while defender Matt Hedges appears fully fit after receiving treatment on the field for a leg injury following the win over Colorado.
Defender Zach Loyd will be unavailable for the match as he continues to recover from a concussion.
FC Dallas will be aiming for two consecutive home wins on Monday following last weekend’s 2-0 triumph over Real Salt Lake, which featured goals from Kellyn Acosta and Fabian Castillo.
Currently on a 14-match MLS regular season unbeaten run at home, FC Dallas can set a new club record for a home unbeaten streak with a win or draw against Orlando City.
FC Dallas has a chance to climb to first place in the Western Conference with a win as they are only one point behind Colorado in the standings. Colorado however will play simultaneously at home against the Portland Timbers.
With a 9-5-4 (W-L-D) record through 18 matches, FC Dallas sit on 31 points and look to reach the 10-win plateau on Monday while also keeping their perfect home record, 6-0-3 (W-L-D), intact.
Gates will open for the match at 6:00 p.m. with a capacity crowd expected for both the game, which kicks off at 8:00 p.m., and the 4th of July fireworks show which follows it.
Coverage will be found on television channel TXA-21 and online via MLS Live.