Orlando City

Battle for Florida: Orlando City enter knockout rounds of Leagues Cup against their in-state rivals

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — It's do or die time for Orlando City. 

If you ask Lions defender Antônio Carlos, he takes that sentiment a bit more literally, especially heading into their matchup tonight against Inter Miami.

“This is a game of life or death,” he said on Tuesday at Orlando Health Training Ground at Osceola Heritage Park. “We know that we need the result and we’re hoping to go there and get a result just as we did earlier this season.”

A 3-1 win for Orlando in Ft. Lauderdale back in May seems much longer ago with the latest changes that have gone on at Inter Miami. The team down south has changed head coaches, signed a multitude of players, and look like a very different team than three months ago.

"The team has changed chemistries immediately and in the last two games, it has been noticed that is a different team," Head coach Oscar Pareja said. "Still, we have faced them before. We have some information that we got and they have the same. Now it's just trying to be consistent in our ways of doing things and just think about ourselves too and how can we play our game. It's important that we understand we have to play our game that's what we're putting emphasis on."

This matchup will be the 11th meeting all time between the two Florida clubs, with this one arguably being the most anticipated of them all, second only to the last time these teams met in a knockout round tournament.

Last year during the Lions US Open Cup run, they had to go through Inter Miami in Orlando, with the match ending in a 1-1 draw and was sent to penalties. Mason Stajduhar came up with a save in the shootout, while captain Mauricio Pereyra scored the winning goal from the spot to send Orlando to the quarterfinals.

Now, as Orlando prepare for another battle for Florida (8:00 p.m. kickoff | MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (subscription required) they will look for yet another result keep the state purple. 

“We are very excited to participate in this tournament not just because of the importance of the Florida Derby and the attention that the game itself is going to bring, but also because of the position where our players have taken the club,” said Orlando coach Oscar Pareja. “We are in a position where we can be very optimistic about advancing [Wednesday] and to the next round. We are excited, prepared, and ready to play.”

Odds and ends

  • Midfielder Junior Urso was recently added to the injury report and is questionable with a right leg injury.

Don't miss Kickoff -60, airing one hour before the match, exclusively on the LionNation App. Join host Gabrielle Amado and Orlando City’s English-language radio talents Evan Weston and Paul Shaw as they break down the upcoming match, with special guests appearing regularly throughout the season.

Fans can download the LionNation App at the link here.