Welcome to your match thread for a Thursday night Leagues Cup quarterfinal match-up between Orlando City and Santos Laguna of Liga MX at Exploria Stadium (7 p.m., TUDN). It’s the first meeting ever between the teams and the first time Orlando City has faced a Liga MX side in a competitive match.
Orlando City is coming off a 1-1 draw on Saturday at FC Cincinnati, while Santos Laguna last played on Saturday at Tigres UANL, where the Guerreros played to a 1-1 draw.
There is none, both against the opponent and in the competition. However, Oscar Pareja has coached in the Leagues Cup before, with his Tijuana side bowing out to the LA Galaxy in penalties following a 2-2 draw in California in 2019.
The Lions are experiencing their first international cup competition. Orlando did well in a knockout competition setting last year in the MLS is Back Tournament and has made deep runs in the U.S. Open Cup in the past, but this is a bit of a different situation.
This is only the second iteration of the competition, which was won in 2019 by Cruz Azul over fellow Liga MX side Tigres, 2-1. The event was canceled last year due to the pandemic. If Orlando can pull out a victory, it will ensure Major League Soccer will get a team into the final, due to Seattle’s 3-0 win over Tigres on Tuesday night.
Orlando City is 5-1-3 at home this season and is on a three-game unbeaten streak (1-0-3). Santos is 1-0-2 in the young 2021 Apertura season. The club is 1-0-1 away from home this season, winning 3-0 at Necaxa on July 23 prior to Saturday’s draw at Tigres.
If the Lions are going to be successful, they’ll have to take care of the ball in possession and not be hesitant to play over the top when Santos presses high. The visitors will try to win the ball back high up the pitch and look for opportunities to score on quick transitions. There are some similarities to the models used by the Philadelphia Union, New York Red Bulls, and this year’s D.C. United squad.
Diego Valdés leads Santos with two goals on his team’s young season, with Alberto Ocejo, Fernando Gorriarán, and Juan Ferney Otero chipping in one apiece.
“It’s important, the fact that we (as a coaching staff) know (Liga MX) and have competed there, but this is a day by day thing and the competition evolves, the competition moves,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said. “The coaches, the players — those dynamics are high in [Liga MX]. It’s a matter of facing the present and the present is that we’re facing Santos in a match that is important for us, and for them, surely, and trying to do our best to advance to the next phase.”
Orlando City will continue to be without Daryl Dike, who Pareja said is nearly back from a shoulder knock he sustained in the Gold Cup, but he’s also been dealing with a tendinitis issue. Alexandre Pato, Sebas Mendez, and Uri Rosell were all left off the roster for this round of the Leagues Cup due to the dreaded lower body injuries. It’s also likely the Lions will be without starting goalkeeper Pedro Gallese who continues to recover from his own lower body injury.
Mandatory Match Content
- Our Intelligence Report provides more info about Santos Laguna from FMF State of Mind contributor Eugene Rupinski.
- This week’s PawedCast features our key match-ups and score predictions for tonight’s match plus a bit more insight on Santos from Eugene.
- Dave Rohe gives you his three keys to victory for Orlando City.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Mason Stajduhar.
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.
Defensive Midfielders: Andres Perea, Junior Urso.
Attacking Midfielders: Nani, Mauricio Pereyra, Chris Mueller.
Forward: Tesho Akindele.
Bench: Adam Grinwis, Emmanuel Mas, Kyle Smith, Michael Halliday, Thomas Williams, Rodrigo Schlegel, Joey DeZart, Raul Aguilera, David Loera, Alexander Alvarado, Benji Michel, Silvester van der Water.
Santos Laguna (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Gibran Lajud.
Defenders: David Andrade, Dória, Félix Torres, Ismael Govea.
Defensive Midfielders: Fernando Gorriarán, Ronaldo Prieto.
Attacking Midfielders: Jordan Carillo, Diego Valdés, Juan Ferney Otero.
Forward: Ignacio Jeraldino.
Bench: Carlos Acevedo, Joel Garcia, Jesus Isijara, Jonathan Diaz, Jose Avila, Edgar Games Gonzalez, Jesus Ocejo, Hugo Rodriguez, Ulises Rivas, Andres Ibarguen, Carlos Orrantia.
Ref: Selvin Brown.
AR1: Walter Lopez.
AR2: Christian Ramirez.
4th: Said Martinez.
VAR: Armando Villarreal.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7 p.m. ET.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
Enjoy the match. Go City!
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