Orlando City

5 things to watch as Orlando City host Houston Dynamo in Leagues Cup opener 

7.21NextMatch-Article

Orlando City vs. Houston Dynamo (Leagues Cup)

When: Friday, 8:00 p.m.

Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla.

Radio: 96.9 The Game (English), Acción 97.9 FM (Spanish)

The Previous Meeting

The Lions last faced off with Houston in MLS regular-season play last summer in the City Beautiful, taking a 2-1 victory over the visitors behind a brace from Designated Player Ercan Kara. That match saw a multi-assist performance from City captain Mauricio Pereyra, earning the secondary on Kara’s first finish and the primary on the second. Facundo Torres also earned a helper in the match with the primary on the side’s first finish of the night.

Welcome to The City Beautiful

Orlando City begins its journey in Leagues Cup 2023 on Friday night against Houston. Due to its strong finish last season, Orlando is hosting all of the South region Group 2 matches in this year’s Leagues Cup, slated to host Santos Laguna for its second matchup on July 29. The top two of the three teams will advance to the knockout rounds. The Group 2 winner will face the winner of South region Group 3, consisting of Cruz Azul, Atlanta United FC, and Inter Miami CF, while the runner-up will be drawn against Mexican side Pachuca, who received a bye to the knockout rounds.

The Game-Winner 

Last Saturday’s match in Atlanta saw rookie Duncan McGuire score his eighth goal of the season doubling as the game-winner, the second deciding finish of his young career. With eight goals, McGuire now leads the Lions on the season, with Facundo Torres trailing behind him with seven goals throughout the campaign. McGuire’s eight finishes leads all rookies selected in this past year’s MLS SuperDraft.

On the Mark

Defender Antonio Carlos found the back of the net for the Lions this past weekend for the fourth time in his career with the Club, with his header serving as the equalizer for City. Three of Antonio Carlos’ four goals as a Lion have been by way of his head, with the center back now two appearances away from 100 in all competitions in purple where he would join fellow backline mates Robin Jansson, Kyle Smith and Pedro Gallese in the century club.

El Capitán

Captain Mauricio Pereyra tallied his 41st and 42nd assists across all competitions of his City career, extending his own Club-record during the Lions’ win against the Five Stripes on Saturday. The match served as the eighth time since Pereyra joined the Lions midway through the 2019 campaign that he recorded multiple assists in a contest, double the amount of the next closet in former Lions captain Kaká.

Milestone Tracker:

  • Pedro Gallese’s next clean sheet will be his 30th in all competitions for Orlando City. Gallese also sits six saves away from 300 as a Lion.
  • Facundo Torres’ next goal will tie Tesho Akindele for sixth on the all-time scoring list, with Chris Mueller just two goals ahead in fifth.
  • Antonio Carlos sits two appearances away from 100 in all competitions in purple.