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ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 11, 2021) - Orlando City SC takes part in its first international competition on Thursday, Aug. 12, hosting LIGA MX side Santos Laguna in the 2021 Leagues Cup, the official annual single-elimination tournament featuring clubs from Major League Soccer (MLS) and Mexico’s top-flight league.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at Exploria Stadium, with the match set to be broadcast on TUDN and ESPN+. Tickets are available here or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.

“It’s important, the fact that we [as a coaching staff] know the league and have competed there, but this is a day by day thing and the competition evolves, the competition moves. The coaches, the players, those dynamics are high in [Liga MX],” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “It’s a matter of facing the present and the present is that we’re facing Santos in a match that is important for us and for them surely and trying to do our best to advance to the next phase.”

The Lions qualified for the annual competition after finishing the 2020 MLS season with 1.78 points per game, serving as one of the league’s four qualified teams along with Sporting Kansas City, Seattle Sounders FC and New York City FC.

City’s last outing came this past Saturday in its first visit to TQL Stadium to face FC Cincinnati, battling to a 1-1 draw in that contest. Lions’ captain Luis Nani netted the equalizer less than a minute after entering the match, sending a shot past Kenneth Vermeer in the 56th minute of play.

With his finish on Saturday, Nani extended his team lead in goals to nine on the year, followed by Tesho Akindele and Benji Michel each with three. Mauricio Pereyra leads the side in assists with seven this campaign.

Santos Laguna comes to The City Beautiful following a 1-1 draw with Tigres UANL this past Saturday. Fernando Gorriarán scored the lone goal for Santos in the match, getting on the board early with a finish in the eighth minute of play.

Three matches into the 2021 Liga MX campaign, Diego Valdés leads Santos with two goals, followed by Juan Otero, Alberto Ocejo and Gorriarán each with one.

Following Thursday’s match, City will return to MLS action, traveling to face Nashville SC on Wednesday, Aug. 18 at Nissan Stadium in an 8:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

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