Concacaf Champions League opener: Orlando City at Tigres UANL
When: Tuesday, 10 p.m.
Where: Estadio Universitario, San Nicolás de los Garza, Nuevo León, Mexico
TV: FS2, TUDN
Here are five storylines to watch on Tuesday night when Orlando City faces Tigres UANL in the first leg of the Round of 16 in Concacaf Champions League play at Estadio Universitario:
In Liga MX
The Lions’ Peruvian duo of goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and midfielder Wilder Cartagena serve as the lone members of the side to have competed in Liga MX throughout their respective careers.
“El Pulpo” spent three seasons at Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz from 2016-19, totaling 56 appearances across all competitions and 10 clean sheets. Cartagena would join Los Escualos in the later part of Gallese’s tenure, appearing 26 times across all competitions from 2017-19.
South of the border
Each member of the Orlando City coaching staff has spent time working in Liga MX throughout their respective careers.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja spent one year at the helm for Club Tijuana in 2018-19, prior to joining Orlando City. On his staff he was joined by Josema and Fabian Bazan, City’s current Assistant Coach and Strength and Conditioning Coach, occupying the same roles at Tijuana. The stint served as the second at Tijuana for the latter, having worked with the side in 2014 before joining his brother and Pareja at FC Dallas.
Assistant Coach Diego Torres came to the City Beautiful after nearly a decade at Tijuana occupying various roles, including interim manager in 2017, crossing paths with Pareja the following campaign.
Goalkeeper Coach César Baena also spent time at Tijuana throughout his career, serving in the same capacity from 2013-15.
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How they got here
The Lions punched their ticket to their first Concacaf Champions League appearance in Club history on Sept. 7, 2022, defeating Sacramento Republic FC in a 3-0 shutout victory to lift the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, its first trophy in the MLS era.
City forward Facundo Torres led the side throughout the competition with six total goal contributions, scoring four goals and adding two assists, including a brace in the final.
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100 in the bank
Orlando City captain Mauricio Pereyra recorded his 100th appearance in all competitions on Saturday evening in what also served as his 90th start for the Club against FC Cincinnati.
Since joining the Club at the latter end of the 2019 campaign, Pereyra has gone on to become the Club’s all-time assist leader with 35 in his tenure, scoring six goals as well.
The Lions’ defense enters Tuesday’s match having recorded back-to-back clean sheets to start the season for the second-consecutive campaign.
In that span, City has featured six different defenders on the backline, including three different center back pairings.
In net, Gallese has totaled eight saves to record two shutouts, extending his Club-record to 23 in all competitions since arriving ahead of the 2020 season.