Orlando City (13-6-8, 47 points) vs. Columbus Crew FC (13-8-6, 45 points)
When: Saturday, 7:30 PM
Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla
Everything you need to know for Orlando City vs Columbus Crew in "The Road Ahead" driven by Audi:
-- Facundo Torres is currently tied with Dom Dwyer for fourth on Orlando City’s all-time scoring charts. El Cuervo’s next goal, his 25th, will tie him with inaugural MLS captain Kaká for third in club history.
-- Mauricio Pereyra’s next assist will give him double-digit helpers in three consecutive seasons. Pereyra has 44 career assists for Orlando City, 18 more than any other player.
-- Oscar Pareja is two wins away from 60 as Orlando City head coach.
Stats and storylines
-- Facundo Torres has hit his stride in the second half of the season once again. The Uruguayan has scored nine of his 11 goals since the beginning of June, including four in his last four matches. Last year, Torres had a run of five consecutive matches with a goal contribution, culminating in his trophy-winning brace in the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final. Orlando won all five of those matches.
-- Orlando City will be without midfield stopper Wilder Cartagena against Columbus on Saturday after the club’s red card suspension appeal was denied. The Lions are 10-2-6 in MLS regular season matches with Cartagena in the starting lineup, including 8-1-1 in their his ten starts, and just 3-4-2 without him.
-- City has gone ten straight home matches without a loss, the club’s longest-ever run within a single season in the MLS era. The overall club record is 15 consecutive home games unbeaten, set across the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
-- Orlando forward Jack Lynn, likely to see more playing time with the first team after Ercan Kara’s transfer to Turkey, scored three goals across two games last week for Orlando City B. Lynn is tied with NYCFC II’s Matt Myers for the MLS NEXT Pro Golden Boot lead at 18 goals apiece. The St. Louis native is far and away the league’s all-time leading goal scorer with 33 career tallies, ten more than Columbus 2’s Gibran Rayo.
All-time vs. Columbus Crew - 9-6-4, +3 GD (7-2-2, + GD home)
MLS only vs. Columbus Crew - 8-6-4, +1 GD (6-2-2, + GD home)
- 2015 - L 3-0 (A), D 2-2 (H), W 2-0 (H/USOC), W 5-2 (H)
- 2016 - D 2-2 (A), L 1-4 (H)
- 2017 - L 2-0 (A), D 1-1 (H), L 0-1 (H)
- 2018 - L 3-2 (A), W 2-1 (H)
- 2019 - W 0-2 (A), W 1-0 (H)
- 2020 - W 2-1 (H)
- 2021 - W 3-2 (H), L 3-2 (A)
- 2022 - W 0-2 (A), W 2-1 (H)
- 2023 - D 2-2 (A)
Meet the opponent: Columbus Crew
-- Orlando City has been Columbus’ kryptonite for half a decade now, going 7-1-1 against the Crew in the two clubs’ past nine meetings. Columbus had Orlando dead to rights back in May, up 2-0 after a dominant first half, but the Lions showed tremendous spirit in fighting back to draw 2-2 on Duncan McGuire’s second-half stoppage time equalizer.
-- The Lions ended the Crew’s season last year on Decision Day, coming from behind to win 2-1 in a winner-take-all match for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Júnior Urso notched the equalizer early in the second half before Facu Torres scored the game winner from the spot in the 84th minute.
-- Keep an eye on the 84th minute, by the way – Orlando City has scored three game-winning goals against Columbus in that exact 60 seconds since 2019! Benji Michel had the other two, in 2019 and 2020. All three came at Exploria Stadium.
-- This year’s Crew, like this year’s Lions, are significantly improved from a season ago. Columbus enters this weekend’s game just two points behind Orlando in the jam-packed top end of the Eastern Conference. The Crew are second in MLS with 54 goals scored and sport the East’s best goal difference at +17.
-- Columbus star Lucas Zelarayán was sold to Saudi Arabia in late July, but the Crew moved quickly to secure former MLS Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi as his replacement. Rossi already has a goal and an assist in 223 minutes in black and yellow.
-- The Crew also acquired former Atlanta right back Julian Gressel during the summer transfer window and already feature star forward Cucho Hernández, who has nine goals and ten assists in 20 games this year.