Orlando City (14-7-8, 50 points) vs. Inter Miami CF (9-15-4, 28 points)
When: Sunday, 7:30 PM
Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla.
Despite the Lions’ midweek loss against New York City FC, they secured a spot in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs for the fourth consecutive year with D.C. United’s 1-1 draw against Atlanta United FC. Orlando City’s four playoff appearances have all come under Oscar Pareja as Head Coach. With five matches remaining in the regular season, this is the earliest the Lions have qualified for the postseason play in the Club’s history. Following Wednesday’s result, Orlando City remains in second place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Welcome to the Lions’ Den
The two sides last met in the City Beautiful in July 2022, where the Lions recorded a 1-0 victory thanks to a second-half stoppage-time own goal from Inter Miami. Orlando City has hosted the Herons five times throughout the rivalry’s history across all competitions, which has resulted in two home wins for the Lions and three draws. Each win against the Herons has been by a one-goal differential. Inter Miami CF has yet to record a winning result at Exploria Stadium.
Pedro “El Pulpo” Gallese has maintained a strong performance since returning from international duty from Peru’s national team. Gallese has recorded 12 saves in his last two matches for the Lions, including denying NYCFC’s initial penalty attempt during Wednesday’s match. Gallese remains the goalkeeper with the most appearances with the Club and is just one match shy of his 115th appearance as a Lion, while also holding the record for most shutout wins with 30 under his belt.
Painting Florida Purple
Sunday’s match will serve as the third meeting this year between the two rivals. The Lions and the Herons first met in May during Major League Soccer’s rivalry week where City snagged a 3-1 victory over the South Florida-based club. The two sides would clash for a second time in the knockout round of League’s Cup 2023 with Inter Miami taking the 3-1 result at DRV PNK Stadium.
Orlando City Captain Mauricio Pereyra is two appearances away from his 130th appearance across all competitions, accumulating 9,405 minutes as a Lion. Pereyra is just one helper shy from hitting double-digit assists for three consecutive years. The midfielder leads the Club with 44 assists all-time, 18 more than any other player in the Club’s history.
- Facundo Torres’ next goal will give him sole possession of third place on the Lions’ all-time scoring list.
- Mauricio Pereyra’s next assist will give him double-digit helpers in three consecutive seasons. Pereyra has 44 career assists for Orlando City, 18 more than the next closest player.
- Oscar Pareja is one win away from 60 as Orlando City’s Head Coach.