ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 7, 2022) - Orlando City SC (13-14-6, 45 points) enters the final match of the Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season, set to take on the Columbus Crew (10-7-16, 46 points) with Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoff implications on the line at Exploria Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 9. The Decision Day matchup is set to kickoff at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The match, presented by Pepsi, is set to be nationally televised on FS1 and FOX Deportes, while being transmitted on Real Radio 104.1 in English and Acción 97.9 in Spanish. Tickets for Sunday’s match are available here or by calling (855) ORL-CITY.
“Here we are in front of the last regular season [match] looking to hopefully continue in the playoff run,” said Head Coach Oscar Pareja. “It is nothing that you haven't seen or heard before. We are preparing for the next game. The responsibility is on our shoulders and our destiny is on our shoulders in front of a rival that is in the same situation. We could have done this job before and gotten the result before, but it is a very tight competition with a lot of compromises and commitments during the season. This one is the same as last year as we were in front of another big game. We are excited to be at home in front of our fans and win this game. Advancing is obviously our priority.”
The fixture could see the Lions clinch their third-consecutive berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs with a win against the Crew. Orlando enters the match sitting in eighth place with 45 points in the Eastern Conference standings, but with the Crew positioned in seventh place with 46 points it sets up for a win-and-in scenario for both clubs. City can also earn a playoff position if the match ends in a draw and FC Cincinnati loses to last-place D.C. United, with the Lions holding the tiebreaker over the Orange and Blue.
City is coming off its second-consecutive loss after falling to Inter Miami CF 4-1 on Wednesday night. Forward Ercan Kara found the back of the net for the Lions’ lone goal after collecting a pin-point pass from Facundo Torres and sending the shot to the far post and into the back of the net. City defender Antonio Carlos received a yellow card in the 59th minute and will not be available for selection on Sunday due to suspension for yellow card accumulation.
With the assist, Torres set the Club’s single-season goal contributions record at 24. The designated player tallied his 12th assist to go along with his 12 goals across all competitions during the 2022 season. The previous record was set at 23 by former Lions captain Nani in the 2019 campaign.
The Columbus Crew extended its unbeaten streak to three consecutive games after earning a 2-2 draw against Charlotte FC on Wednesday night. The Crew jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but gave up two unanswered goals to Charlotte with the match-tying goal coming in second-half stoppage time. The Crew have dropped 11 points in the 90th minute or later this season, three more points than any other team has dropped in a single season in MLS history.
The two sides last faced off on April 16 at Lower.com Field, resulting in a 2-0 victory for City. The Lions were backed by a first-half goal from Rodrigo Schlegel and a second-half finish from Kara. Torres recorded two assists in the match, while Júnior Urso also picked up an assist on the Schlegel finish.
Sunday’s match will also celebrate “Pride in Our City'' in support of the LGBTQ+ community. The pregame Fan Zone will be decked out in rainbow colors and will also have a free drag show outside at 1:15 p.m. All fans will also receive a rainbow headband, presented by Pepsi, when they enter at the gate.
The Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs begin on Saturday, Oct. 15. If the Lions earn a playoff spot, they will be on the road with their opponent to be determined based on seeding.