In the seminal Peanuts classic “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Linus asks for one good reason why he should memorize his lines for the annual Christmas play. Lucy, ever quick to anger, tells him she’ll give him five and proceeds to curl her fingers into a fist.
We’re not going to threaten you, though, because unlike Lucy, we can actually give you five good reasons to come to Exploria Stadium and see Orlando City face the Philadelphia Union in the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 this Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Without further ado, the list:
It’s Win or Go Home
The U.S. Open Cup matches have much higher stakes than MLS regular season games, because if you lose, you don’t get to play any more U.S. Open Cup matches that year. This is a straight knockout tournament, with the winner receiving an automatic berth to the CONCACAF Champions League, a nice $300,000 in prize money, and the most storied trophy in American soccer. Orlando City took care of the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the I-4 Derby revival on April 20 to reach this round, where 32 teams remain in the field.
The Team Could Be Unique
Against the Rowdies, Oscar Pareja handed a start to 17 year-old Homegrown Thomas Williams, his first with the First Team. Williams played bravely and soundly, helping Orlando to a 2-1 victory. With the games coming at midweek, the Open Cup is often an opportunity for coaches to tinker around with lineups and get minutes for players that don’t typically start league games. With two trips to Canada bookending this week’s Round of 32 match, we’ll see what Oscar Pareja wants to go with on Tuesday.
The Opponent is a Big Deal
While Orlando City had the opportunity to draw Inter Miami or South Georgia Tormenta FC for this round, it was instead slotted against Philadelphia. The Union have emerged as one of the top teams in American soccer over the past couple of seasons, winning the 2020 Supporters’ Shield and going to the Eastern Conference Finals in last year’s MLS Cup Playoffs. Philadelphia is currently top of the table in the East after earning a 2-2 draw at Banc of California Stadium against LAFC this past weekend.
You Could See History
The Lions have a pretty unique history in the U.S. Open Cup. As a USL team in the early 2010s, Orlando was a menace to top division sides, knocking off both the Colorado Rapids and Sporting Kansas City in a memorable 2013 run to the quarterfinals. The team went as far as the semifinals in 2019, beating NYCFC in penalties in the quarters in a game that has become known for the Running of the Wall, when the supporters dashed to the sound end of the stadium to support goalkeeper Adam Grinwis for the spot kicks.
You Can Get In For $15
Orlando City is putting on a special deal for the U.S. Open Cup, with tickets priced at $15 throughout the entire eastern side of Exploria Stadium. For the cost of a fast food dinner you can see one of the biggest matches of the Round of 32 and help cheer the Lions towards silverware.
Those are five good reasons. See? No need for threats, Lucy.