ORLANDO, Fla. (May 10, 2017) - Following a stretch of three matches in eight days, Orlando City SC (6-3-0, 18 points) returns to its fortress to face Sporting Kansas City (5-2-3, 18 points) on Saturday, May 13. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.
“[Sporting Kansas City is a] very organized team. To me it looks like it’s been together quite a while now and the majority of their players have been with the same coach so they have a very clear identity of who they are and what they’re trying to do. Very dangerous opponent for us,” Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “While we’re very happy with where we’re at right now being 6-3-0, we can’t be content and we can’t be complacent.”
The Lions return to Orlando City Stadium looking to extend their perfect home record. In the Club’s last match at home, second-half substitutes Carlos Rivas and Kaká provided the extra spark in the final third to extend its impeccable form at home. Rivas, who leads the team with four assists, opened the scoring in the 70th minute with a left-footed rocket into the top corner. Then in stoppage time, Kaká sealed the deal and brought the sold-out crowd to its feet after he tapped in the rebound of Cyle Larin’s shot off the post. The win marked City’s third shutout of the season and extended City’s own Major League Soccer (MLS) record for most consecutive wins to open a new stadium to five.
The teams have split the all-time series with a home win each. In the first meeting, Orlando City defeated Sporting KC, 3-1, on Sept. 13, 2015, with two goals from Adrian Winter and one from Bryan Róchez. Then in May 2016, Joe Bendik set the franchise single-game saves record with 10 but the Lions fell, 2-1.
Orlando City will be without defender Tommy Redding, who was called up to the U.S. U-20 national team ahead of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The tournament will take place in Korea Republic from May 20 to June 11.
Last weekend, the Lions fell to Houston behind a brace from Mauro Manotas and a goal each from Honduran wingers Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto. The match featured the return of Uruguayan defender José Aja, who played alongside Redding, while Giles Barnes and Larin both started up top together for the first time this season. The trip to Houston concluded a 3,000-mile trip for City since leaving for Toronto.
Larin leads the Lions with six goals and Kaká is second with two goals in just 138 minutes. Scott Sutter and Will Johnson are tied for second in assists with two assists each, while Larin, Toia, and Bendik have started all nine matches for City to begin the season.
SKC is coming off of a 2-0 road loss to Minnesota United FC. Miguel Ibarra recorded two first-half assists to Abu Danlade and Christian Ramirez. Dom Dwyer, who played for Orlando City during the 2013 United Soccer League season, leads Kansas City with five goals but will miss the match due to yellow card accumulation. USMNT midfielder Benny Feilhaber and right back Graham Zusi, originally from Longwood, Fla., each have two assists.
The Lions face a quick turnaround when they travel to California to face the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday, May 17. Kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET. City will then come home to take on New York City FC for the third and final time this season on Sunday, May 21. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.