Orlando City vs Nashville SC (Round 1)
When: Monday, 7:00 PM
Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, FL
Orlando City rookie Duncan McGuire finished off the regular season with a bang, scoring a second-half brace during the Lions’ Decision Day duel against Toronto FC. The brace served as his 14th and 15th goals of the year across all competitions, earning him a spot on MLS’ Team of the Matchday. McGuire rounded out his first season as a Lion the lead goal-scorer for the Club recording 5 G/1 A throughout his last five matches.
Finishing with Flair
Of McGuire’s two goals on Decision Day, one stood out around the league as a certified banger. The first of the rookie’s two goals was voted as the AT&T Goal of the Matchday by fans, earning 40.7% of the vote to win his first award in the category. McGuire collected Mason Stajduhar's goal kick, gracefully flicking the ball over Michael Bradley's head, taking several touches and firing home an upper-corner volley that left goalkeeper Sean Johnson helpless.
Hunting for the Win
The Lions enter the hunt for MLS Cup for their fourth consecutive season, seeking their first playoff victory since 2020 when Rodrigo Schlegel stepped into net to make the decisive save against New York City FC in a wild penalty-kick shootout. With the save, the Lions advanced to the conference semifinals ultimately falling to New England Revolution in a 3-1 result. In 2021 and in 2022 the Lions were eliminated from the Playoffs in the first round of the competition.
The Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs brings in a new format when it comes to the league’s postseason play, starting with a best-of-three series. Round One will see Orlando City host the first game at Exploria Stadium on Oct. 30, before turning their attention to Game 2 at GEODIS Park the following week on Nov. 7. If a third game is necessary to decide the series, the Lions and Nashville will return to the City Beautiful on Nov. 12, with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals. Under the new 2023 Playoff format, all matches during the best-of-three series ending in a draw after the 90-minute regular time will go straight into a penalty shootout.
Stronger Than Ever
Orlando City enters the first round of playoffs off of its best regular season in Club history, ending the 2023 regular-season campaign with 63 points and 18 wins, both Club single-season records, and taking the second spot in the Supporters’ Shield Standings. The Lions posted the strongest road record of any team in the league, with nine away wins also while staying unbeaten at home in 14 straight matches.
Have We Met?
Monday’s match will mark Orlando City and Nashville SC’s second encounter in postseason play, with the two clubs having met during the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs, with Nashville taking the 3-1 result in that meeting. In 2023, the Lions and the Boys in Gold faced off twice during regular-season play where each team recorded a win, with Orlando City taking the most recent meeting at Nashville by a 1-0 scoreline.