The Magic of the Cup
The Lions square off in the Quarterfinal round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the fourth time in Club history and the third in the MLS era in Wednesday’s matchup against NYCFC. City reached the same round in 2012 as a USL Pro franchise, in 2015 in its inaugural MLS season and then again in 2018. A win on Wednesday would send City through to the Semifinals for the first time in Club history.
Breaking the Deadlock
City has faced off against New York City FC twice already this season in MLS action, with both matches resulting in draws. The Lions overcame a 2-0 deficit on March 2 in the season opener for both sides to draw the Pigeons 2-2 at the then-named Orlando City Stadium and then went on to draw their 2015 expansion rivals 1-1 at Yankee Stadium on April 27. The Lions hold a 5-5-4 record against NYCFC all-time, with all of those matches coming in MLS play.
Forward Santiago Patiño scored his first professional goal on Sunday against Philadelphia in MLS play, finding the back of the net in the 81st minute on his first touch of the match. The Lions selected the Orlando native with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft out of Florida International University. In their last Open Cup match, another Orlando product scored his first professional goal, with Homegrown product Benji Michel opening the scoring in the Lions’ Round of 16 match against New England. Michel recorded his second start of the season at Philadelphia on Sunday.
Back for More
Forward Dom Dwyer returned to the starting lineup for the Lions on Sunday in Philadelphia for the first time since May 12 at Atlanta. Dwyer found the back of the net in his return, using the back of his head to flick a free kick from Nani into the goal to level the Lions with the Union in the 67th minute. The finish served as Dwyer’s fifth of the 2019 season, tied for third on the team with Chris Mueller. Dwyer now sits one goal shy of 80 in his MLS career.
Forward Tesho Akindele scored his first goal in U.S. Open Cup play for the Lions in their Round of 16 matchup against the Revolution, a goal that served as the game-winner in the 101st minute. Akindele currently sits at second on the Lions’ squad with seven goals across all competitions in his first season with the Club through 16 appearances. Akindele is a veteran of the nation’s oldest cup competition, having lifted the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophy in 2016 while a member of FC Dallas and now competing in the tournament for the fourth time.
Quest for the Cup - MLS Edition
Orlando City’s Quarterfinal matchup could feature Kyle Smith’s first appearance in the U.S. Open Cup as an MLS player. Smith appeared in the 2018 edition of the tournament with Louisville City FC of the USL Championship League. Smith scored one goal for Lou City to help lead the club to the Open Cup Quarterfinals for the first time in its history. He has played in 12 games for Orlando City this year, with six starts.