Live Blog: Orlando City vs. Colorado Rapids

Orlando City SC begins a stretch of eight games with a home match against the Colorado Rapids.

Orlando City SC midfielder Antonio Nocerino, top, joins in on the team celebration during a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, March 18, 2017. (Photo by Mark Thor / Orlando City SC)

It’s all tied up at 1-1 in North Carolina.

This is the first corner of the match.

Colorado will be without starting goalkeeper Tim Howard, who is serving a three-game suspension. The Rapids will also be without defender Kortne Ford, who is serving a one-game suspension.

For Jason Kreis and his team, they’re not focused on the Howard loss. Here’s what Kreis had to say during training this week.

It just doesn’t affect it too much, right? We don’t do a whole lot of talking about the goalkeepers, to be honest. Those are the guys that are just there to stop the very last play. So, we prepare the same exact way.

And here’s what right-back Scott Sutter had to say.

No, I wouldn’t have thought so. We all know how good a keeper he is. He’s definitely a player they’re gonna miss, but we just need to make sure that we play our game. We’re playing at home, and I think we should really try and show the confidence level that we have at the moment with the four wins at home. So, it doesn’t really matter who’s in goal. We just need to play our game, and, obviously, we go out there to win.

Here’s a neat note about midfielder Cristian Higuita. As soon as he heard that Jason Kreis would be the new head coach in Orlando, the Colombian began watching film on Kreis’ past teams and the diamond formation.

Well I did it because I noticed that I could be one of the players. I know we have players like Servando [Carrasco] and Antonio [Nocerino] that they play more as a No. 6, that it’s a little bit more defensive, and I knew I was capable of going forward and also defending. So I knew that was a possibility for me. So I was preparing myself to be able to take that role, and I’m glad I’m doing it well right now.

Center-back Seb Hines, on the other hand, played a full 45 minutes in the 0-0 draw against Saint Louis on Thursday. It was his first time playing in the new stadium.

One injured player who still has not returned to the playing squad is right-back Rafael Ramos. The 22-year-old was supposed to dress and play against Saint Louis FC with Orlando City B but experienced some tightness in his hamstring the day before and did not dress. Here’s another quick read on that.

Rafael Ramos Did Not Dress for OCB’s Match Against Saint Louis

Check out our quick read on Jason Kreis’ and Cyle Larin’s approach to last-place Colorado. In short, they’re not taking this team lightly.

Orlando City Is Not Taking Last-place Colorado Lightly

Colombian striker Carlos Rivas will start the match on the bench today. ICYMI, here’s a picture of him with his son Dylan during training this week.

Orlando City SC forward Carlos Rivas walks his son Dylan off the training pitch following a training session at Sylvan Lake Park on Thursday, April 27, 2017. (Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)

Cristian Higuita is in the starting lineup. He popped his shoulder out of its socket in the 2-1 win in New York City. Here’s what he had to say about the injury and his status.

I feel fine. I had an issue with my shoulder, but I’m recovering fine. I hope to continue contributing to the squad this weekend.

I don’t wish that to anyone. It did hurt a lot. And I actually wanted to continue. They put it back in, and I wanted to continue playing, but Coach made the decision because I wasn’t 100 percent. Coach made the decision of taking me out the game, but I’m fine now.

Midfielder Ricardo Kaká is on the bench to start the match. Here’s what head coach Jason Kreis had to say about his progress during training this week.

Ricky looks pretty good so far. He’s really been very limited in a number of sessions he’s been available for, and that’s why the decision was made last week that he wasn’t included in the group. He was only included in two full sessions in the two days before the game. There was not enough work to know whether or not he was ready to go into the New York City game and take that kind of risk we weren’t willing to do. So, this week, with another—he trained Monday, the day after the match, with the group that trained then, and he trained today fully, and he’ll train tomorrow, then Friday, and we believe that that should put him in a better position for this weekend.

It’s 90 degrees here in Orlando today. In Commerce City, Colorado, where the Colorado Rapids play their home games, it’s 31 degrees. We’ll see if the weather plays a factor in today’s match.


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