The hype is on for Orlando City’s biggest game of the year so far, as the Lions play host to the New York Red Bulls in the semifinals of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, July 27, at 7:30 p.m.
The Open Cup is the most historic organized soccer competition in America, having been played annually since 1913 through 2019. The tournament was canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but has returned in 2022.
Orlando picked up right where it left off in 2019, when it reached the semifinal round for the first time in Club history. With a victory over the Red Bulls, the Lions would be playing in their first U.S. Open Cup final and their second tournament final of the MLS era. That final game, against the winner of the other semifinal between Sporting Kansas City and Sacramento Republic, is guaranteed to be a home game at Exploria Stadium.
Should Orlando City win the tournament, it would mark the first trophy in the Club’s MLS era and send the Lions to the CONCACAF Champions League, the most prestigious club competition in North America, for the very first time.
Orlando’s run through the 2022 Open Cup has been incredibly eventful thus far. First, City reignited the I-4 Derby against the Tampa Bay Rowdies for the first time since 2014, winning 2-1 in the opening round. The Lions then topped one of MLS’ top sides, the Philadelphia Union, in the Round of 32, with Andrés Perea scoring one of the tournament’s top goals to lift Orlando to another 2-1 victory.
City matched up with Inter Miami in a Florida Derby in the Round of 16, winning on penalties after Facundo Torres scored a dramatic extra time equalizer. Things were even more heart-pounding in the quarterfinals against Nashville, when Rodrigo Schlegel added to his legend with a game-tying goal at the death before Orlando went on to win on spot kicks.
The boys are going to need all the support they can get in the semifinals against the Red Bulls, one of MLS’ very best teams this season. And if history is any indication, this is a match fans won’t want to miss.