Orlando City

The Road Ahead: Everything you need to know for Orlando City vs Houston Dynamo in Leagues Cup

Road Ahead web

Orlando City vs Houston Dynamo (Leagues Cup)

When: Friday, 8:00 p.m.

Where: Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Fla.


Radio: 96.9 The Game (English), Acción 97.9 FM (Spanish)

Everything you need to know for Orlando City vs Houston Dynamo to start Leagues Cup in "The Road Ahead" driven by Audi:

Milestone watch

-- Duncan McGuire scored his eighth goal of the season in Saturday night’s thrilling 2-1 rivalry win in Atlanta, securing sole possession of the team lead. With two more goals, McGuire will make it nine consecutive seasons in which Orlando City has sported a double-digit goalscorer.

-- Antonio Carlos is two appearances away from 100 in all competitions for Orlando City. He is set to join fellow backline mates Robin Jansson, Kyle Smith, and Pedro Gallese in the century club.

-- Pedro Gallese is six saves away from 300 in his Orlando City career and three wins away from 50 as the Lions’ keeper.

Stats and storylines

-- Orlando City begins its journey in the 2023 Leagues Cup on Friday night against Houston. Due to its strong finish last season, Orlando is hosting all of the South region Group 2 matches in this year’s Leagues Cup. The Lions will face Santos Laguna on Saturday, July 29, with Santos and the Dynamo set to battle on Tuesday, July 25.

-- Rather than end in a draw or go to extra time, all group stage matches that are tied after 90 minutes will go to a penalty shootout. As in MLS NEXT Pro, the winner of PKs will earn two points from the match while the loser will take just one.

-- The top two of the three teams will advance to the knockout rounds. The Group 2 winner will face the winner of South region Group 3, consisting of Cruz Azul, Atlanta United, and, yes, Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami. The Group 2 runner-up will be drawn against Mexican side Pachuca, who received a bye to the knockout rounds due to finishing with the most aggregate points in Liga MX across the 2022 Clausura and Apertura. 

-- The tournament winner, runner-up, and third place team will all receive berths in the 2024 CONCACAF Champions Cup, the expanded and rebranded edition of the CONCACAF Champions League (in which the Lions debuted this past March). The Leagues Cup winner will receive a bye straight to the CCC Round of 16.

-- Oscar Pareja will be looking to add to his knockout tournament legacy with this year’s Leagues Cup. Pareja is a two-time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion (with FC Dallas in 2016 and with Orlando City in 2022) and also guided the Lions to the final of the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020. He also reached the semifinals of the 2016-17 CCL with Dallas.


All-time vs. Houston Dynamo - 2-2-2, -3 GD (1-0-2, +1 GD home)

Leagues Cup only vs. Houston Dynamo - First meeting

  1. 2015 - W 0-1 (A)
  1. 2016 - D 0-0 (H)
  1. 2017 - L 4-0 (A)
  1. 2018 - D 0-0 (H)
  1. 2019 - L 2-1 (A)
  1. 2022 - W 2-1 (H)

Meet the opponent: Houston Dynamo

-- Houston returns to the City Beautiful for the second year in a row after falling 2-1 to Orlando City last summer. That game marked one of Orlando’s best performances of the season – the Lions got a brace from Ercan Kara, assists from Facundo Torres and Mauricio Pereyra, and won the expected goals battle 3.0-0.7.

-- The Dynamo head into the Leagues Cup just above the red line in the Western Conference, sitting in ninth place with 29 points and an 8-10-5 record. As usual, Houston has been very good at home (7-2-2) and abysmal on the road (1-8-3). Since Orlando City entered MLS in 2015, Houston has a staggering 15-91-36 away record, comfortably the worst in the league in that timespan. The Dynamo have made the playoffs just once in the past nine years, in 2017.

-- Houston does have some knockout tournament success. The club won two MLS Cups in its first two years after relocating from San Jose in 2006 and, more recently, the Dynamo took home the 2018 U.S. Open Cup. 

-- This year’s Dynamo are led by DP and Mexican national team midfielder Héctor Herrera, who has 3 G/9 A in his first full season in Houston, and French attacker Amine Bassi, who leads the side with eight goals.