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Orlando City To Host Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2022 U.S. Open Cup

Orlando City has drawn an old foe, ushering in a new chapter to I-4 Derby lore.

Orlando City Soccer Club v Tampa Bay Rowdies - Disney Pro Soccer Classic Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

[Note: This story has been modified to include the date, time, and venue.]

The third-round draw of the U.S. Open Cup occurred this afternoon, with Orlando City drawing the Tampa Bay Rowdies. It will be the second time the two teams have faced off in a competitive match — the Lions knocked the Rowdies out of the 2014 Open Cup.

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced the schedule this evening, and the match will be played on Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m., with Orlando hosting — sort of. In a disappointing turn of events, the match will be played at Osceola County Stadium, the home of OCB. Fans have a difficult enough time getting downtown on a weekday by 7 p.m., so it’s hard to imagine they’ll have any less of an issue getting to Kissimmee. In addition, the sightlines and setup of the stadium are less than ideal for soccer and certainly don’t hold a candle to Exploria Stadium.

The game will be open to fans and ticket information will be announced later.

The history between the two clubs goes back to Orlando City’s USL Pro days, when the two teams faced off in the preseason I-4 Derby in 2013 and 2014. The teams played a two-legged preseason series in both years, with one at Al Lang Stadium and one at the Citrus Bowl. The Lions dominated the series, taking all four games.

Additionally, the two teams met in the 2013 Walt Disney Pro Soccer Classic, a short-lived MLS preseason tournament at Disney. The Lions beat the Rowdies 2-0 in a consolation match, with goals by Jamie Watson and Dennis Chin.

The only competitive game between the two came in the 2014 U.S. Open Cup at Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford. A Kevin Molino brace led the Lions to a 4-1 win.

Since joining MLS, the two teams have played three times — all in preseason games. The teams drew 0-0 in 2017, while Orlando City won 2-1 in 2020 and 3-1 this preseason.

This will be the 10th time the Lions have taken part in the Open Cup. They’ve made runs to the quarterfinals three times — in 2013, 2015, and 2018 — but the team’s best performance was in the 2019 tournament, the most recent to take place.

That year, the Lions beat Memphis 901 FC away before playing three rounds at home. The first was a 2-1 win in extra time over the New England Revolution. That game was followed by a penalty shootout win over New York City FC that featured the legendary “Running of the Wall.” The Lions finally bowed out in the semifinals with a 2-0 loss to Atlanta United.

In all, Orlando City has played 25 Open Cup games since 2011. The Lions have gone 13-9-3 in those games, with a home record of 7-3-1. Since joining MLS in 2015, the Lions are 5-5-3 in the Open Cup and 2-3-1 at home.