ORLANDO, Fla. (April 20, 2022) - Orlando City SC advanced to the Round of 32 of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night, defeating intrastate foe Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 at Exploria Stadium. The match saw the rekindling of the I-4 Derby, the first head-to-head of the former USL opponents since 2014 when the two sides competed in two legs of derby play and the Third Round of the Open Cup. 

With the victory, the Lions now sit at a perfect 7-0-0 in all competitions against the Rowdies.

Alexandre Pato and Júnior Urso each scored for the Lions on the night, now sharing the team lead for goals in all competitions at three apiece. The contest also saw Homegrown defender Thomas Williams make his first start for the First Team after making his MLS debut in Columbus this past weekend. 

The Lions’ next opponent in the Open Cup will be determined tomorrow, April 21, at 12 p.m. ET in the Round of 32 draw. 

Head Coach Oscar Pareja:

“It is a very important game for our fans, for our Club and we are very proud to beat Tampa today. We dedicate this to our people and I was very glad to see them in the stands pushing our team in difficult moments. We really enjoyed this victory with a lot of respect for Tampa who came out with a great attitude in the game and is a very good team, a team who brought a lot of energy and created a lot of trouble, especially in the first half. We were quiet in the first half, I don’t think we dominated the game. I have to give credit to Tampa that most of the time they had the initiative and for us it was difficult to recover the ball. I didn’t see too much from either side, but in the second half we needed to get into the game and the boys did. I think they did, the second half I liked a lot and once again the most important thing is that I know what this means for our fans and we dedicate this to them.”

Scoring Recap:

52’ Alexandre Pato (PK) - ORL 1, TB 0

The Lions got on the board shortly after the halftime break with Benji Michel drawing a penalty after being taken down from behind in the box. Alexandre Pato then stepped up to the spot, sending his strike into the left side netting for the finish.

63’ Júnior Urso - ORL 2, TB 0

City doubled its advantage less than 10 minutes later, with Mauricio Pereyra lofting a ball into the area, eventually taking a deflection off a Rowdies defender before falling to the foot of Júnior Urso, who was able to strike it into the back of the net.

65’ Lucky Mkosana - ORL 2, TB 1

The Rowdies halved the deficit with Lucky Mkosana able to slide onto a loose ball in the box and send it into the back of the net. 

Match Notes:

  • The win saw the Lions remain unbeaten against their intrastate foes, now sitting at 7-0-0 all time against the Rowdies across all competitions. 
  • Alexandre Pato scored his first U.S. Open Cup goal in what also served as his debut in the nation’s oldest cup competition. 
  • Júnior Urso netted his first goal in Open Cup play in what also served as his debut in the tournament. 
  • Defender Thomas Williams notched his first start for the First Team coming days after his MLS debut, coming off the bench in Columbus on Saturday. 
  • Goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar recorded his first U.S. Open Cup start as a Lion.
  • Ruan tallied his 80th start in all competitions. 
  • Head Coach Oscar Pareja made seven changes to his starting lineup from Saturday’s match at Columbus.

Next Match: The Lions return to Exploria Stadium on Sunday, April 24, set to host the New York Red Bulls in a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff.