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Orlando City vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies, U.S. Open Cup: Preview, How to Watch, TV Info, Live Stream, Lineups, Match Thread, and More

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Welcome to your match thread for a Wednesday night U.S. Open Cup third-round match-up between Orlando City and the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Exploria Stadium (7 p.m., ESPN+). The I-4 Derby was established before the Lions joined Major League Soccer but this edition of the rivalry has real stakes. It’s the second time the teams have met in this competition.

Here’s what you need to know about the match.

History

Orlando City is 6-0-0 in the all-time series as far as “official” records go, but 9-0-0 if you count the three preseason friendlies since the Lions made the jump to MLS.

The I-4 Derby began in 2013, when the Lions and Rowdies met three times. Orlando City was in the third-division USL Pro at the time, while the Rowdies played in the second division’s NASL. The teams first met on Feb. 23, 2013 at Disney’s Wide World of Sports as part of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic. The Lions won that game in the tournament’s consolation bracket 2-0, thanks to a first-minute penalty conversion by midfielder Jamie Watson and a 78th-minute sealer by striker Dennis Chin.

The I-4 Derby was established after that with a pair of home-and-home preseason friendlies. The teams met in Orlando on March 9, 2013, with the Lions capturing a 3-2 win on goals by Watson, James O’Connor, and Jean Alexandre, while Amani Walker and Luke Mulholland scored Tampa Bay’s first goals against Orlando City. The return leg took place at Al Lang Stadium on March 30 of that year and Orlando won 3-2 again. Kevin Molino, Adama Mbengue, and Dom Dwyer provided the offense, with Dwyer’s 91st-minute strike winning the game. Takuya Yamada and Walker scored for the Rowdies.

The I-4 Derby resumed in 2014, with the first game taking place in Lake Buena Vista on April 30, as the Lions played home matches at Disney’s Wide World of Sports that year. Orlando City won 3-0 on goals by Mbengue, Chin, and Brian “Cobi” Span.

The teams then met in the U.S. Open Cup in the first competitive I-4 Derby match-up on May 28, 2014, at the Seminole Soccer Complex in Sanford. The Lions thumped the Rowdies 4-1 in that match, with Molino bagging a first-half brace and Austin da Luz and Mbengue also scoring in the opening 45 minutes. Blake Wagner’s goal just before halftime spoiled the shutout but the Lions handled their business.

The return leg of the regularly scheduled 2014 I-4 Derby in St. Petersburg didn’t happen until July 6, with Orlando winning by a 3-2 scoreline for the third time in the series. Molino and Darwin Ceren scored on either side of a strike by Tampa Bay’s Georgi Hristov to take a 2-1 lead into the break. Hristov tied the match in the second half, but Corey Hertzog scored the winner for the Lions in the 75th minute.

Since 2014, the teams have met only in a few preseason friendlies/scrimmages and they apparently aren’t being counted in the overall series. The Lions and Rowdies met in the 2017 preseason, playing to a scoreless draw at Sylvan Lake Park in a closed-door scrimmage held on Feb. 11. Three years later, almost to the day, the teams met again in the preseason — this time at Exploria Stadium — on Feb. 12, 2020. Orlando City won 2-1, with Junior Urso and Jordan Bender supplying the offense in a come-from-behind win after Kyle Murphy had put Tampa ahead.

The most recent meeting came Feb. 19 of this year, when the Lions again topped the Rowdies in preseason behind closed doors. Tesho Akindele, Mauricio Pereyra (penalty), and Jack Lynn scored for Orlando, while Tampa Bay avoided a shutout thanks to a goal by Jake LaCava.

Match Overview

Orlando City is coming off Saturday’s 2-0 road win over the Columbus Crew, in which Rodrigo Schlegel opened his MLS account and Ercan Kara added his second goal in the last two games. The Lions are 2-2-0 at home in 2022.

Tampa Bay is 3-1-3 on the USL Championship season, sitting third in the Eastern Conference standings. The Rowdies are coming off a 3-1 win over FC Tulsa at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday. Tampa is 1-0-2 away from home in 2022.

The Lions will need to be wary of LaCava, who leads the Rowdies with three goals and an assist on the season in seven games (five starts). Sebastian Dalgaard has chipped in two goals. Leo Fernandes and Sebastián Guenzatti have been the team’s providers thus far, with two assists each.

Orlando City will likely rotate the starting lineup from Saturday’s match, but it’s worth noting that neither Alexandre Pato nor Ruan played any minutes on Saturday. This match will provide an opportunity for Oscar Pareja and his staff to give a look to players who haven’t gotten on the field that much yet this year, such as Akindele, Andres Perea, and potentially Thomas Williams and Lynn.

“We’re excited to play the first game [of this competition] versus a good team,” Orlando City Assistant Coach Josema Bazán said in a pre-match press conference. “It’s going to be a very good match. The players are excited to play in the game in their first match of the Open Cup. We are all on the same page and we’ll continue to get ready.”

Orlando City will be without Antonio Carlos (hamstring), but no other Lions are on the availability report.


Projected Lineups:

Orlando City (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Mason Stajduhar.

Defenders: Kyle Smith, Thomas Williams, Rodrigo Schlegel, Michael Halliday.

Defensive Midfielders: Sebas Mendez, Andres Perea.

Attacking Midfielders: Benji Michel, Junior Urso, Tesho Akindele.

Forward: Alexandre Pato.

Tampa Bay Rowdies (3-4-3)

Goalkeeper: Raiko Arozarena.

Defenders: Aaron Guillen, William Conner Antley, Laurence Wyke.

Midfielders: Jake Areman, Yann Ekra, Lewis Hilton, Sebastian Dalgaard.

Forwards: Sebastián Guenzatti, Kyle Greig, Jake LaCava.

Referees

Ref: Daniel Gutierrez.

AR1: Abdel Kuttaineh.

AR2: Albert Escover.

4th: Jasmine Peralta.


How to Watch

Match Time: 7 p.m.

Venue: Exploria Stadium — Orlando.

TV: None.

Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+.

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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Gameday Guide: Your complete timeline for the Rapids’ Sunday doubleheader 

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2:00-5:00 P.M. Happy Hour at Hamburger Mary’s

Start your gameday off right at Hamburger Mary’s for drink specials and giveaways! Individuals have the option to bus from Hamburger Mary’s to DICK’S Sporting Goods Park at 4:00. The bus will return individuals to Hamburger Mary’s after the match. Purchase bus tickets here.

5:00 P.M. C38 Pride Tailgate

Join C38 for their Pride tailgate before making your way into the stadium! All are welcome to enjoy the pregame festivities and get hype to watch the Burgundy Boys with Colorado’s best supporters’ section.

Countdown to kickoff starts now! Welcome the Rapids to the pitch with hype videos, lineups and special Pride features.

6:00 PM Colorado Rapids vs Seattle Sounder FC Kickoff

Come on you Burgundy Boys!

9:10 PM Rapids 2 vs Tacoma Defiance Kickoff

Don’t head out just yet! Colorado’s MLS NEXT Pro side Rapids 2 will make their DICK’S Sporting Goods Park debut directly at the conclusion of the Rapids’ matchup with Seattle.





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2022 MLS season: Fire standing behind struggling goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina

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Gabriel Slonina has made his decision. He’s going with the United States men’s national team.

Slonina, 18, announced Friday on social media he is committing to the US over Poland. A dual national, Slonina was recently named to Poland’s roster for its upcoming UEFA Nations League matches but has chosen to cast his lot with the United States program. Poland clearly wanted Slonina badly, as shown by coach Czesław Michniewicz traveling to Chicago to meet with him and present him a jersey.

Those overtures were rejected, and Slonina explained why. Though he discussed his pride in his heritage and what it means to be Polish, Slonina said “my heart is American.”

“This country has given me and my family all the opportunities I could ask for,” Slonina posted. “It’s pushed me and supported me through good and bad. I understand the privilege of wearing the badge, and the only time I’ll put my head down is to kiss it. America is home and that’s who I’m going to represent.”

Because of his age, FIFA rules allow Slonina to play in three matches for a national team before being bound to a country, so it’s possible he could change his mind in the future.

Slonina is part of a crowded US goalkeeping picture that includes Manchester City’s Zack Steffen, the Revolution’s Matt Turner (who will join English club Arsenal this summer) and former Fire standout Sean Johnson, currently the captain of reigning MLS Cup champion New York City FC. Poland is also strong in net, led by Wojciech Szczęsny, the starter for Italian powerhouse Juventus.

But just because Slonina, who’s represented the US at youth levels, has made this decsion doesn’t mean all his major choices are complete. Slonina’s been linked with major European clubs, and with their transfer windows opening soon, the young goalie might be forced to decide between famous teams in the near future.

Slonina’s recent play for the Fire has raised questions about whether those outside factors have taken a toll. Last Saturday, Slonina’s late giveaway led to the Fire’s 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati. Then on Wednesday against the Red Bulls, Slonina whiffed on an easy save for New York’s second goal, overcommitted on their stoppage-time equalizer and could’ve easily given away a penalty after contacting an opposing attacker in the Fire box.

After the Red Bulls match, coach Ezra Hendrickson was asked whether the external noise was affecting Slonina’s concentration.

“Maybe outside of the game but in the game I don’t think he’s thinking about all that stuff. He just happened to make some mistakes,” Hendrickson said. “You know, we all make mistakes as soccer players and it just happened to be that in that position of his, your mistakes are more dangerous, are more costly than someone missing a goal or something like that. But he’ll get out of it and we’ll make sure that he stays positive and stays confident.”

Perhaps that will be easier for Slonina with one major decision out of the way.





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Monarchs Spotlight: Tyrone Mondi – rsl.com

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Monarchs Spotlight: Tyrone Mondi  rsl.com



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