ORLANDO, Fla. (May 7, 2021) - Orlando City SC (1-0-2, 5 points) closes out a two-game home stint on Saturday, May 8, set to host 2015 expansion rivals New York City FC (2-1-0, 6 points) at Exploria Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. ET.
The match, presented by JetBlue, will be nationally broadcast on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, while being transmitted on Real Radio 104.1 in English and Acción 97.9FM, 810AM in Spanish. Individual tickets for Saturday’s match are unavailable, however a limited amount of inventory for the Lions’ remaining two May home matches remains for those looking to become ticket plan holders. For more information on ticket plans, call 855-ORL-CITY or click here.
“At this stage every game is so important to keep building the confidence and to keep adding points. I know it’s early, but our commitment to the competition is to try and get the most points that we can at this stage,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of Saturday’s match. “We think New York City will be a great measurement for us. It's another great rival in our conference that for sure will be fighting high in the standings. We’re excited to play them this weekend.”
Saturday will serve as the first matchup between the two sides since Nov. 21, 2020 when the Lions defeated the Pigeons in a dramatic penalty-kick shootout to earn their first postseason victory in Club history. With a stop from defender turned goalkeeper Rodrigo Schlegel on a strike from Gudmundur Thórarinsson, who had to step into net after goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was sent off, followed by a game-winning conversion from Benji Michel, City took the historic win in front of its home crowd in the First Round of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Lions come into the weekend after earning their first victory of the 2021 campaign this past Saturday with a 3-0 shutout over FC Cincinnati at Exploria Stadium. Tesho Akindele scored the fastest goal in Club history just 31 seconds into the match before Nani doubled the advantage in the 19th minute. Júnior Urso added the insurance late in the 80th, while goalkeeper Pedro Gallese did not have to make a save en route to his second shutout in three matches to start the year.
Nani now leads the Lions with two finishes, scoring in as many contests for the Club, while teammate Chris Mueller holds the team-high in assists with two to his credit. In net, Gallese sits tied for the league lead with his two clean sheets along with New York City’s Sean Johnson and three other goalkeepers across MLS.
The Pigeons enter Saturday’s fixture after taking a 2-0 victory against Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park last weekend. The visitors scored on both sides of the break with Jesús Medina finding the back of the net in the fifth minute, followed by Valentín Castellanos in the 65th, playing with a man advantage for the majority of the match after Philadelphia's José Martínez was sent off with a red card in the 16th minute. Medina and Castellanos have each found the back of the net three times for the Pigeons through their first three matches, while Anton Tinnerholm leads the side in assists with two.
Following Saturday’s match, City will head out on the road for a matchup with D.C. United on Sunday, May 16 at Audi Field.