clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Uncanny Familiarity Between Clubs Headlines Orlando City vs. Sporting KC Match

When the two teams meet on Sunday, they'll look across at the opposition with a great deal more familiarity than in most matches. But former SKC midfielder Servando Carrasco isn't hyping up the match against his former team.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When Orlando City looks down the touchline at their opponents on Sunday night the players and staff will see plenty of familiar faces wearing Sporting Kansas City kits -- and vice versa.

Though the two sides have met just twice, both matches being in U.S. Open Cup, there will be plenty of familiarity between the clubs.

These two sides have ties that go back to before Orlando City moved into MLS, and was the USL affiliate to Sporting Kansas City. As Mane Lander Sean Rollins noted yesterday, four of the six SKC players who were sent to Orlando City in the 2013 season could be returning to central Florida Sunday.

Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer is the most well-known former Lion on the SKC squad, and earlier this season, Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath talked about wanting Dwyer to return to Orlando. Not sure having Dwyer on the opposite team in the Citrus Bowl was what Heath meant.

But along with the former USL loanees, Sporting Kansas City's Amobi Okugo could be another player returning to Orlando, assuming he makes the trip with the team. Okugo has appeared in two matches since being traded to Sporting KC during the most recent transfer window.

As Dwyer and the rest of the former Orlando City players return to their "spiritual home," there is one SKC player who will be returning to his actual home. SKC midfielder Graham Zusi grew up in Longwood, FL.

While Zusi told the Orlando Sentinel's Paul Tenorio he doesn't want to be in an Orlando City jersey, he does relish the opportunity and possibility of playing in front of his hometown team.

"The idea of playing in front of your home fans where you grew up, there is something kind of warming about that as well. I'll leave it at that. I don't want to say too much. I love the idea of playing for one team, but if it had to be anyone else, it's a pretty fun thought."

On the flip side, plenty of Orlando City players have a history playing for SKC as well, including the man that was traded for Sporting KC to acquire Okugo: Servando Carrasco.

Carrasco played just nine matches after moving from the Houston Dynamo to Sporting KC at the beginning of 2015. So, while he will be familiar with the opponents, he isn't trying to make a big to-do about the connections between the clubs.

"I don’t think (there is extra motivation)," Carrasco said. "It was kind of a short stay, but I really enjoyed it. I learned a lot. We’re just looking for three points."

While Carrasco didn't spend a lot of time in Kansas City, Orlando City center back Aurelien Collin made his bones with the club. He appeared in 107 matches from 2011 to 2014 before being traded to Orlando City.

Collin is likely the most familiar with his opponents in a game that is sure to have plenty of players familiar with tendencies and skills. But with the way Orlando City has played recently, the familiarity will help, but it may not make the difference.

"We certainly know who we’re playing against," Heath said. "Obviously with Dom coming back; we’ve got Aurelien here, we’ve got Servando. We know how they’re going to play. They’re very good at what they do. It’s going to be tough and we’re going to have to play well to win the game. I believe we can."