Orlando City will face the Philadelphia Union in the fourth round of the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. A drawing held today included three potential opponents — the Union, Inter Miami CF, and USL League 1 side South Georgia Tormenta FC. Out of a third division side, an MLS side that has struggled thus far in 2022, and the MLS Eastern Conference leaders, obviously the Lions drew the most difficult opponent. The two sides will meet at Exploria Stadium at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10.
The Lions last met the Union in the competition back on July 18, 2018 in Philadelphia. Alejandro Bedoya’s strike in the fourth minute was the only scoring as Orlando City fell in the quarterfinals, 1-0. The Union reached the final of the competition that year, losing 3-0 in the championship match to the Houston Dynamo.
Like that 2018 match, which saw the Lions playing in Pennsylvania four days after a hard-fought 2-1 home win over Toronto FC and sandwiched with a 3-2 loss in Columbus three days after the U.S. Open Cup match, Orlando will again have some traveling to do. The Lions play at Montreal on Saturday, May 7 in a 4 p.m. matinee match. Orlando will return home and play Philly on Tuesday night before preparing for a trip to play at Toronto at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 14. That is pretty standard for a cup competition. All teams will have to cram in extra games as they proceed through the tournament.
Orlando City reached the fourth round after Wednesday night’s 2-1 home win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies on goals by Alexandre Pato — from the penalty spot after Benji Michel was fouled in the box — and Junior Urso. The Union have yet to participate in the competition. Philadelphia is one of eight MLS sides to enter after the third round due to either making the 2022 Concacaf Champions League or being one of the next highest two teams in its conference. In Philly’s case, it was a strong, second-place finish in the Eastern Conference that earned the Union a third-round bye.
If the Lions are going to make a deeper run than their previous best, which was in 2019 when Orlando reached the semifinals, then they’ll have to get past a strong Union team. We’ll find out if they can do that on May 10.