History awaits Orlando City this Thursday night. The Club will enter the first international competition in its history when it faces Liga MX power Santos Laguna in the 2021 Leagues Cup quarterfinals at Exploria Stadium. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m. ET, with tickets available here. The game will be televised on ESPN+ and TUDN.
Here’s everything you need to know about Santos Laguna:
Key Transactions and Player News
Key Additions - CF Alessio da Cruz (Parma, loan), RW Ferney Otero (Amiens SC), LW Andrés Ibargüen (Club América), RW Jesús Isijara (Atlas), CF Ignacio Jeraldino (Atlas), AM José Ávila (Atlas)
Key Departures - CF Julio Furch (Atlas), RW Brayan Garnica (Atlas, end of loan)
Player News - Santos Laguna returns the grand majority of the core that brought it to the Liga MX final in the 2021 Clausura. Los Guerreros are strong in midfield, a deep group led by Uruguayan international Fernando Gorriarán and Chilean international Diego Valdés, who has scored twice in Santos’ first three matches of the 2021 Apertura. Up front, Santos features young Mexican striker Eduardo Aguirre, who just took home the bronze medal from this year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo, as well as Ferney Otero, a powerful and dynamic Colombian winger signed from the French second division this past winter.
Take a look at Santos Laguna’s full roster here.
Santos has started the 2021 Apertura campaign brightly, winning their opener 3-0 away to Necaxa and drawing their last two matches against top sides Cruz Azul and Tigres. They could have won their most recent game, in fact, but left the match with a bitter taste after conceding to a 10-man Tigres side in the 89th minute. Gorriarán scored for Santos in the game and will look to continue his strong form in Orlando.
This is Orlando City’s first international competitive fixture, so they have not faced Santos Laguna or any Mexican side in an official game. The Lions have played six friendlies against international sides since joining MLS and have won five of them, including a preseason win over Icelandic side KR Reykjavik in February 2020.
Rasmussen University Fact
Santos Laguna is one of Liga MX’s youngest sides – they were founded in 1983 and joined the top flight of Mexican soccer in 1988. They have won six Liga MX championships, including three in the past decade, and also took home the 2014 Apertura Copa MX. However, Los Guerreros have never won a continental trophy, with two losses in the CONCACAF Champions League finals.