ORLANDO, Fla. (July 13, 2020) - Orlando City SC (1-1-1, 4 points / 1-0-0, 3 points) is slated to face 2015 expansion rivals New York City FC (0-3-0 / 0-1-0, 0 points) in its second group stage match of the MLS is Back Tournament on Tuesday, July 14 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET.
The match will be nationally televised on Univision (TUDN) with English commentary available live on Twitter. Fans can also transmit the game on 96.9 The Game in English and Acción 97.9FM, 810AM in Spanish. For a match preview, fans can tune into the Orlando City Roundtable ahead of Tuesday’s match, streaming on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the LionNation App at 7 p.m. ET.
“[NYCFC] has a good team. We understand that and we’re preparing to play against them with the energy, the discipline and the characteristics that we have as a team,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said of Tuesday’s opponent. “It’s a long journey and we want to win all the games, but when you develop a mentality that you are positive about, it’s contagious. I hope the boys keep growing and we hope we can keep building going into this match.”
The Lions enter the match atop Group A following a victory in the first Florida Derby in nearly 20 years, defeating Inter Miami CF 2-1 on Wednesday in their tournament opener. Following a 1-0 victory for the Philadelphia Union over NYCFC Thursday morning, the Union are tied with the Lions at three points apiece in the standings. With the goals scored tiebreaker, City holds the top spot in Group A.
As previously announced by Major League Soccer, Nashville SC has been withdrawn from the competition due to concerns over confirmed positives for COVID-19. As a result, Chicago Fire FC have moved from Group A to Group B, leaving Group A to consist of Orlando City, Inter Miami, NYCFC and Philadelphia.
With the change and the previous withdrawal of FC Dallas, the top two finishers in each of the six groups will now advance to the Knockout Stage presented by Audi, along with the four best third-place finishers. A win on Tuesday and a result in favor of the Union against Inter Miami would automatically qualify the Lions for the Knockout Round.
After going down 1-0 in the 47th minute on Wednesday due to a finish from Miami’s Juan Agudelo, City answered in the 70th off the foot of Chris Mueller, sliding into a cross from captain Luis Nani for the score. Nani would be the difference maker in the end, scoring a stoppage time game-winner in the 97th minute to give the Lions the victory.
Mueller now leads the Lions this season with two tallies in 2020, while Nani sits tied with newcomers Andrés Perea and Júnior Urso with one assist apiece in the calendar year.
New York City FC opened their MLS is Back Tournament campaign with a 1-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Union. MLS veteran Alejandro Bedoya was the goal-scorer for Philadelphia in the match, scoring the eventual game-winner in the 63rd minute of play. Despite registering 17 shots in the match, the Pigeons came up empty-handed due in part to a seven-save effort from Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.
NYCFC have yet to get on the score sheet in 2020, falling to the Columbus Crew and Toronto FC each by a score of 1-0 prior to the MLS regular-season suspension on March 12.
Following Tuesday’s match, the Lions will take on Philadelphia Union to close out the group stage of the MLS is Back Tournament on Monday, July 20 at 8 p.m. ET.