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Orlando City vs. Los Angeles FC: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

The Lions host the Western Conference leaders in the first meeting since the MLS is Back Tournament.

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Orlando City v Los Angeles FC: Quarterfinals - MLS Is Back Tournament Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Welcome to your match thread for a Saturday night MLS is Back quarterfinal match-up between Orlando City (2-1-2, 8 points) and Los Angeles FC (3-0-1, 10 points) at Exploria Stadium (7:30 p.m. FOX 35 Plus). This is the only scheduled meeting between the two cross-conference opponents this season.

Here’s what you need to know:

History

Orlando City has yet to taste victory against LAFC in league play (0-1-1) and is 0-1-2 in all competitions against the Black & Gold. What many people will remember as a win was actually a 1-1 draw and took place in the knockout stages of the MLS is Back Tournament in 2020 in the teams’ most recent meeting. Joao Moutinho’s late goal sent that match to penalties and the Lions advanced after winning the penalty shootout, 5-4. Pedro Gallese was huge in that match and all five Orlando shooters scored their penalties, while only Jordan Harvey missed for LAFC, hitting the crossbar.

In the last regular-season meeting, the Lions and LAFC drew 2-2 at Exploria Stadium on Sept. 7, 2019. Adrien Perez put the visitors on the board in the 12th minute, but Nani struck back just a minute later off a quick play on the ensuing kickoff. Benji Michel put the Lions ahead in the 20th minute and — just when it appeared Orlando might pull off the upset — Diego Rossi scored in the 78th to tie things up.

LAFC won the initial meeting of the series in 2018 at Banc of California Stadium, running away 4-1 after the Lions had an apparent tying goal overturned for offside on a play that didn’t seem all that clear or obvious of an error to me. But admittedly I’m limited to only the replays they showed on my television set. Sacha Kljestan scored for Orlando to cut a 2-0 lead in half. That lead was built on goals by Adama Diomande and Latif Blessing. Orlando scored a second that was overturned and Diomande and Rossi finished the Lions off. That initial meeting of the two teams was also the first game the Lions played under James O’Connor.

Overview

Orlando City is coming off a 1-1 draw at Portland a week ago, having gotten to within sight of a win, only to see Andres Perea concede a silly penalty, allowing Cristhian Paredes to tie the game from the spot. Junior Urso had the Orlando City goal early in the second half. City went 1-0-1 on its two-game road swing out west and returns home, where the Lions are 1-1-0 in two matches in 2022.

LAFC won its only road match of the season so far, with a 2-0 victory at Inter Miami on March 12. LAFC rides its four-match unbeaten streak into Exploria Stadium having had last weekend off for the international break. The club’s last game was a 3-1 win at home on March 20 against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

LAFC looks like its old self under new coach Steve Cherundolo. He’s got the team back to playing its lethal attacking and counter-attacking style, but with the added bonus of being defensively sound — a problem at times under Bob Bradley. LAFC’s nine goals are the third most in MLS and the team has only conceded twice this season. That defensive record is second only to Chicago’s one goal conceded, which you may recall was aided by an erroneous overturning of an Urso goal on March 5.

The Lions will need to be just as focused on defensive responsibilities as they were in the 1-0 win at the LA Galaxy two weeks ago in order to keep the league’s co-leader in goal scoring, Carlos Vela, off the board. Vela has four goals on the season, although three of those came in the season-opening revenge win over the Colorado Rapids. Vela, Mamadou Fall, Kwadwo Opoku, and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi are all capable goal scorers. Meanwhile, the Lions, who have struggled in the attacking third this season, must find a way to get something past excellent LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau.

“In front of us is a rival that, as the last two, is a bit unusual,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said in his pre-match press conference. “In the last two years, we primarily played against the teams in the East, but at the same time it’s a team that we faced in the bubble in an unforgettable night that we had. They have a different coach now, but have a good base of returning players. They’re a team that is aggressive, with initiative and very good players, especially up front. It’s another good opportunity for us to keep growing.”

Orlando will be without defender Michael Halliday (thigh) but everyone else is listed as available, including midfielder Mauricio Pereyra, who had to be stretchered off last Saturday but returned to training this week. LAFC lists Franco Escobar (calf) as questionable and Eddie Segura (knee) and Erik Dueñas (knee) as out.

Mandatory Match Content

Here's your mandatory match content for tonight’s game:


Official Lineups

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.

Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.

Defensive Midfielders: Cesar Araujo, Junior Urso.

Attacking Midfielders: Alexandre Pato, Mauricio Pereyra, Facundo Torres.

Forwards: Ercan Kara.

Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Kyle Smith, Thomas Williams, Rodrigo Schlegel, Sebas Mendez, Andres Perea, Silvester van der Water, Benji Michel, Tesho Akindele.

Los Angeles FC (4-3-3)

Goalkeeper: Maxime Crepeau.

Defenders: Ryan Hollingshead, Mamadou Fall, Jesus David Murillo, Diego Palacios.

Midfielders: Francisco Ginella, Ilie Sanchez, Latif Blessing.

Forwards: Brian Rodriguez, Carlos Vela, Cristian Arango.

Bench: John McCarthy, Sebastien Ibeagha, Kellyn Acosta, Jose Cifuentes, Danny Musovski, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, Kwadwo Opoku.

Referees:

Ref: Joe Dickerson.

AR1: Gianni Facchini.

AR2: Kevin Klinger.

4th: Matthew Corrigan.

VAR: Rosendo Mendoza.

AVAR: TJ Zablocki.


How to Watch

Match Time: 7:30 p.m. ET.

Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.

TV: FOX 35 Plus.

Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).

Streaming: ESPN+ (out of market only) and the LionNation app (in market only).

Twitter: For rapid reaction and live updates, follow along at @TheManeLand, as well as Orlando City's official Twitter feed (@OrlandoCitySC).

Enjoy the match! Go City!


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