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NYCFC aim to end losing skid at expense of Orlando City

May 13, 2023; Harrison, New Jersey, USA; New York City FC forward Talles Magno (43) controls the ball against New York Red Bulls defender Dylan Nealis (12) during the first half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The month of May has not been kind to either New York City FC or Orlando City.

NYCFC will hope to end a lengthy losing streak when they visit conference foe Orlando City on Wednesday night.

While it is still early, both clubs enter the first Wednesday match day of the MLS season just outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture. NYCFC (4-5-3, 15 points) and Orlando (4-4-3, 15 points) are part of a seven-team tie at 15 points and, as of now, would not qualify for the postseason based on tiebreakers.

NYCFC have lost four matches in a row — their past three in MLS play plus last week’s U.S. Open Cup battle with FC Cincinnati. On Saturday they might have thought they were catching the rival New York Red Bulls at the right time, right after they had fired coach Gerhard Struber, but the Red Bulls beat NYCFC 1-0 in Troy Lesesne’s coaching debut.

Three of NYCFC’s four straight losses have come by 1-0 scorelines.

“Lifting this team is something that only time will tell,” NYCFC coach Nick Cushing told reporters. “If you ask my opinion and the feel for the facility, everyone is happy — the guys are frustrated but they’re playing their part.

“We had a really good meeting on Sunday where we had the guys in, and the guys were really honest with where we feel we are, discussing what we have to do better, and how we get better quickly.”

Santiago Rodriguez leads NYCFC with four goals, while Gabriel Pereira has contributed three goals and three assists.

Orlando City were the defending U.S. Open Cup champions but saw themselves knocked out of the tournament with a 1-0 loss to Charlotte FC last week. They followed that up Saturday with a 2-2 draw at the Columbus Crew; Orlando hasn’t won a match since April 29.

Rookie Duncan McGuire scored in the second minute of stoppage time to complete Orlando’s rally from a two-goal deficit and tie Columbus. The sixth overall pick in the 2023 draft, McGuire leads the Lions with four goals.

“We scored two goals, we could’ve scored one more and we start feeling that this is us,” Orlando coach Oscar Pareja said. “I think we have to keep that feeling and that emotion, approach, and execute the right things, because we have the quality to do it.”

–Field Level Media