Storylines | Facing the Herons

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Matching History
Netting his 12th goal in all competitions for the 2022 campaign on Sunday, Lions’ Designated Player Facundo Torres tallied his 23rd goal contribution of the year, matching a Club-record held by former Orlando City captain Nani in a single season. Torres’ 23 contributions (12 goals, 11 assists) leads the side in 2022, with 15 of those coming since the start of July.

Facing the Herons
City will look to add to a four-game unbeaten run against its intrastate rivals dating back to the start of the 2021 MLS campaign, holding a 2-0-2 record in its last four meetings with Inter Miami. The side’s last visit down south came on June 25, 2021, a match that resulted in a 2-1 victory for the Lions behind goals from former Orlando City forwards Chris Mueller and Nani, a win that capped off a nine-point week for the side at the time. Through eight matches in league play between the two sides, all have been decided by a goal or less.

Last Go Around
The Lions last faced their midweek opposition earlier in the campaign on July 9, a match that resulted in a 1-0 shutout victory for the home side at Exploria Stadium. After a near three-hour delay due to weather, the two sides looked to be on their way to a scoreless draw until an own goal from Inter Miami defender Damion Lowe decided the match in the second minute of second-half stoppage time in favor of the Lions.

What’s At Stake
Wednesday’s matchup will see two sides pitted against one another currently sitting in sixth and seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings, with a six-point swing in the race for the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs on the line. Should the Lions defeat the Herons on Wednesday night and Charlotte FC take down the Columbus Crew, City will earn its third-consecutive postseason berth, all of which have come under Head Coach Oscar Pareja. The Lions and Herons enter the midweek even in points (45) and total wins (13), with City holding the slight edge in goal-differential, sitting at a -7 ahead of Miami’s -10.

With the Assist
Sunday saw a pair of Lions combine in the leadup to Facundo Torres’ 12th goal of the year, with a long throw from César Araújo finding Ercan Kara in the area, who set up “El Cuervo” for the finish. The assist served as Kara’s third of the campaign while being the first for Araújo, marking his first goal contribution in league play since joining Orlando City ahead of the 2022 campaign as a part of Major League Soccer’s U22 Initiative.

Milestone Tracker

  • Defender Rodrigo Schlegel is one appearance away from his 70th as a Lion and one start away from his 50th.
  • Forward Ercan Kara is one start away from his 25th in purple.