ORLANDO, Fla. (August 18, 2016) – Orlando City SC (5-6-12, 27 points) finishes a two-game road trip and begins a stretch of three games in nine days on Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Colorado Rapids (11-3-9, 42 points). Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
The match will be televised on WRDQ TV 27 and transmitted on Real Radio 104.1 FM in English and on La Grande 1030 AM in Spanish.
"It’s a big challenge. [Colorado is in] second place in the Western Conference. It’s a team that’s in some really good form. Well organized right now, they have been playing well together. They represent our biggest challenge to date. But I think our guys are showing improvement in the performances as we have seen and training sessions, so I think it comes at a really good time for us,” Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “Colorado is a special case because there is altitude to deal with as well. I never felt it was an overwhelming factor but it is something we need to be considering and be aware of.”
City will aim to continue its dominant offensive form against the league’s best defense on Saturday. The Lions have netted 10 goals in their last five games, four of those from leading scorer Cyle Larin, and have notched six goals in their previous three road games. The Rapids, commanded by United States Men’s National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard, have allowed a league-low 20 goals in 23 fixtures this season and lead the league in goals allowed at home, with only five in 12 games.
Larin and Kaká look to continue their positive momentum after getting on the scoresheet against the Fire on Sunday and earning MLS Team of the Week honors. Larin is fifth in MLS with 12 goals and has the highest scoring percentage of any of MLS’ top 10 scorers, converting on 21.4 percent of his shots. Kaká leads the team with eight assists and has logged a goal and three assists in his last three matches. Goalkeeper Joe Bendik is second in MLS with 88 saves.
In its first-ever visit to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Orlando City looks to collect points on the road for the fourth consecutive game following hard-fought draws in Vancouver, Columbus and Chicago. Colorado is unbeaten in 12 home games this season.
Orlando City’s 2-2 draw against Chicago on Sunday featured the returns of midfielder Kevin Molino and defender Tommy Redding from injury, Matías Pérez García’s first start with the Lions and the MLS debuts of defender José Aja and midfielder Tony Rocha.
Colorado played to a 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy on Saturday at StubHub Center. Shkelzen Gashi scored in the 51st minute before Daniel Steres equalized for LA in the 62nd. Howard made five saves in his seventh game this season.
Gashi and Kevin Doyle lead the team with four goals each while Marco Pappa and Mekeil Williams both have four assists. Howard has started every game in goal for the Rapids since joining the team from English Premier League side Everton FC in July.
In their only previous MLS encounter, Orlando City defeated Colorado 2-0 on June 24, 2015. Larin and Kaká scored three minutes apart in the second half and Tally Hall made four saves to seal the victory.
The Lions face two quick turnarounds as they return to Camping World Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 24, to host Toronto FC for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff before hosting expansion rival New York City FC on Sunday, Aug. 28 at 7 p.m. ET.