Welcome to your live match thread for a Saturday night match-up between Orlando City (6-4-3, 21 points) and FC Dallas (6-3-4, 22 points) at Exploria Stadium (7:30 p.m., FOX 35 Plus). It’s the only scheduled meeting between the clubs this season, and just the seventh overall.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
Orlando City is 1-3-2 in the all-time series and 1-1-1 at home against FC Dallas. The teams did not meet in 2021, so the last time these teams have played was in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX on Sept. 27, 2020, when they played to a scoreless draw. Sebas Mendez got sent off in the 69th minute of that match.
The Lions got their first win in the series in a 2-0 victory in the last meeting at Exploria Stadium, back on Aug. 3, 2019. Former Dallas striker Tesho Akindele and Carlos Ascues provided the offense for Orlando and those were the first two goals — and so far the only ones — the Lions had ever scored against FC Dallas.
Dallas won 2-0 in Texas on Oct. 6, 2018 on goals by Santiago Mosquera and Victor Ulloa. The teams played to a 0-0 draw in Orlando in 2017, in a game that was memorable only for the Hoops playing an ineligible player — Michael Barrios, who was scratched from the starting XI after the lineups were turned in and then came off the bench.
Dallas won in 2016 on July 4 at Toyota Stadium by a 4-0 final score and it could have been worse, honestly, if not for Joe Bendik. Dallas led 2-0 within 20 minutes of the start and cruised to an easy win behind goals by Walker Zimmerman, Barrios, Matt Hedges, and Fabian Castillo. That game turned out to be Adrian Heath’s last as Orlando City’s head coach, as the gaffer was sent packing a couple of days later.
The first meeting resulted in a 2-0 Dallas win back in 2015 at the Citrus Bowl. Mauro Diaz (pen.) and David Texeira provided the offense in that one and the Lions failed to even get one shot on target.
Orlando City is on a four-game unbeaten streak in all competitions (2-0-2) and that includes two straight in MLS regular-season play (1-0-1). The Lions are coming off a midweek scoreless draw against Inter Miami in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 — advancing via penalty shootout win — and last saw action in league play last Sunday in the 2-2 draw at Austin FC that was marred by creative officiating. This is the team’s first home MLS game since April 30, with the Lions going 1-1-1 on their three-game road swing.
FC Dallas enters fresh, having not played a midweek Cup game, while Orlando will be playing for the third time in seven days. The Texas club is 1-2-3 away from home this season and has lost its last three straight matches. That includes a 2-1 home loss in its last outing at home against Minnesota United this past Sunday. On such a run of form, it’s a good bet the Lions will see a desperate FC Dallas side looking to run and capitalize on Orlando’s tired legs and manpower shortage (more on that below).
This will be only the second time since his arrival in Orlando that Oscar Pareja will face the club for which he played from 1998-2005, and where he managed from 2014-2018. Papi is still beloved in Dallas after winning consistently during his tenure there, including a Supporters Shield and a U.S. Open Cup — both in 2016.
The key for Orlando will be stopping a potent Dallas attack that includes USMNT stars Jesus Ferreira and Paul Arriola, as well as Young Designated Player Alan Velasco. The trio of forwards has accounted for 16 goals and seven assists already this season. Ferreira leads the attack with his league-leading nine goals and two assists. Arriola has scored in four straight matches and has five on the season, along with a pair of assists. The job of stopping those forwards falls on a tired team that will be without two of its top three center backs and its starting central midfielder.
“We’re going to go home thinking that our body is going to be ready for Dallas,” Pareja said after his team fought hard for 120 minutes on Wednesday night against Miami. “And what I sensed from that group was that they’re committed with it. Now, we’ll see. But our job is to give them a good recovery, get those legs ready for Dallas, and just have that spirit that they had (Wednesday) and let those difficulties come to see how we solve it. But we’ll be ready.”
Orlando continues to be without Antonio Carlos (thigh), Benji Michel (lower leg), and Silvester van der Water (lower leg), but the team will also be without the suspended Rodrigo Schlegel at center back and Cesar Araujo in central midfield. Additionally, we’ll have to see how Facundo Torres is after experiencing tightness in his leg deep in extra time on Wednesday. FC Dallas has a completely empty availability report, so the visitors will be at full strength.
Mandatory Match Content
- Our Intelligence Report features a scouting report on the Hoops from Drew Epperley of SBNation’s FC Dallas blog, Big D Soccer.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and score predictions.
- Michael Rice discusses what changes Orlando City could make against Dallas.
- Josh Munsey provides his scouting report on FC Dallas.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Kyle Smith, Ruan.
Defensive Midfielders: Sebas Mendez, Andres Perea.
Attacking Midfielders: Jake Mulraney, Mauricio Pereyra, Junior Urso.
Forward: Ercan Kara.
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Adam Grinwis, Michael Halliday, Thomas Williams, Joey DeZart, Facundo Torres, Tesho Akindele, Jack Lynn, Alexandre Pato.
FC Dallas (4-3-3)
Goalkeeper: Maarten Paes.
Defenders: Marco Farfan, Jose Martinez, Matt Hedges, Ema Twumasi.
Midfielders: Brandon Servania, Facundo Quignon, Paxton Pomykal.
Forwards: Paul Arriola, Jesus Ferreira, Alan Velasco.
Bench: Jimmy Maurer, Tsiki Ntsabeleng, Joshue Quinonez, Benjamin Redzic, Jader Obrian, Edwin Cerillo, Franco Jara, Nanu, Nkosi Burgess.
Ref: Marcos DeOliveira.
AR1: Jose Da Silva.
AR2: Jennifer Garner.
4th: Matt Thompson.
VAR: Daniel Radford.
AVAR: Diego Blas.
How to Watch
Match Time: 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: Real Radio 104.1 FM (English), Acción 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ (out of market only) and the LionNation app (in market only).
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Enjoy the match. Go City!