Orlando City SC (5-4-4, 19 points) vs Atlanta United (6-4-4, 22 points)
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Florida
TV: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (subscription required)
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 (English), Acción 97.9 FM (Spanish)
The Man on Fire
Following the Lions’ 3-1 victory over intrastate rivals Inter Miami CF over the weekend, forward Ercan Kara earned MLS Team of the Matchday honors, his first time being named to the first XI in his MLS career. With a goal this past weekend, the Lions’ Designated Player has found the back of the net in three-consecutive matches and four out of the last five in league play, leading the side with five goals in all competitions this campaign. Should he find the back of the net against The Five Stripes this weekend, Kara would tie the Club-record for consecutive league matches with a goal, joining former Lions Dom Dwyer, Nani, and Daryl Dike. Kara also added an assist against the Herons, finding teammate Martín Ojeda for the eventual game-winner to add to his contributions.
Nothing Like Your First
Defender Rafael Santos found the back of the net for the Lions down in South Florida this past weekend, adding the insurance goal in the 86th minute to send City home with all three points. The goal served as the first for the Brazilian defender, who joined City this past offseason from Cruzeiro of Brazil’s Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, having appeared eight times in all competitions for the Lions this season.
Midfielder Martín Ojeda came off the bench for the Lions in a big way over the weekend, scoring the eventual game-winner for the Lions with his finish in the 68th minute. Ojeda would also earn the secondary assist on Rafael Santos’ goal on the evening, now sitting with three goals and four assists in all competitions to lead the side with seven goal contributions in total this year.
Who’s Your Papi?
Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja earned MLS Coach of the Matchday honors following the side’s victory in Fort Lauderdale last weekend, his first such honor since the 2020 campaign. Pareja, the winningest head coach in Orlando City’s MLS era with more than twice as many wins as any other, sits one win away from win number 50 and could reach that mark this weekend against another top rival in Atlanta United.
For Club & Country
Orlando City Homegrown defender Mikey Halliday and the U.S. U-20s currently sit atop Group B at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, having taken a pair of victories in their opening contests with a 1-0 win over Ecuador followed by another shutout victory with a 3-0 win over Fiji on Tuesday. Halliday went the full 90 for the U.S. on Tuesday, helping to keep Fiji off the board on the afternoon. The U.S. will look to punch its ticket to the knockout round on Friday, May 26 against Slovakia in its final group stage match.
- Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese is three appearances away from 100 in all competitions in purple.
- Midfielder Mauricio Pereyra is two starts away from 100 in all competitions.
- Midfielder Facundo Torres is one start away from 50 in all competitions as a Lion.
- Midfielder César Araujo is two starts away from 50 in all competitions as a Lion.
- Head Coach Oscar Pareja is one win away from 50 across all competitions at the helm of the Lions.