Orlando City takes a quick break from MLS regular season action this Wednesday night for the Third Round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. In a special twist, the Lions will open their tournament run in a revival of the I-4 Derby against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, the first time the rivalry match will be played in front of fans since 2014. The match is set to kick off from Exploria Stadium at 7 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on ESPN+.
Here’s everything you need to know about Tampa Bay:
Key Transactions and Player News
Key Additions - F/W Jake LaCava (New York Red Bulls, loan), GK C.J. Cochran (OKC Energy, loan), CM Junior Etou (Charlotte Independence), CM Jake Areman (Charlotte Independence), CF Kyle Grieg (Louisville City)
Key Departures - CB Forrest Lasso (GIF Sundsvall), GK Evan Louro (out of contract), AM Zach Steinberger (retirement), DM Jordan Doherty (Bohemians), LB Max Lachowecki (out of contract)
News - The Rowdies have been busy since the last time we saw them in the 2014 Open Cup. Tampa Bay left the NASL for the USL Championship in 2017 and has established itself as a power in the second division, reaching the USL Cup Final in each of the past two seasons. The 2020 final was not played due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while the Rowdies fell 3-1 to Orange County SC in the 2021 final.
Take a look at Tampa Bay’s full roster here.
The Rowdies are off to a good start in 2022 as they look to win the USL Championship Eastern Conference for the third straight season. Tampa is third in the table with 12 points through seven matches, defeating FC Tulsa 3-1 this past Saturday. Red Bulls Homegrown forward Jake LaCava, on loan for the season, leads the team with three goals, while veterans Sebastián Guenzatti and Leo Fernandes each have two assists.
Famously, Orlando City has a perfect record in competitive matches against Tampa Bay, going 6-0-0 across 2013 and 2014 when the two teams were meeting for silverware. City won both legs of the dedicated I-4 Derby competition in both years as well as the two sides’ lone U.S. Open Cup meeting in 2014, which the Lions took 4-1 behind a brace from Kevin Molino.
Rasmussen University Fact
Since October 2018, the Rowdies have been owned by Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, who also purchased Al Lang Stadium in the deal.