Jacksonville Sports Day

PREVIEW: Orlando City Takes on LAFC in MLS is Back Quarterfinals

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City SC will face off against Los Angeles FC on Friday, July 31 in the Quarterfinals of the MLS is Back Tournament Knockout Stage presented by Audi. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

“We have to match [LA’s] intensity and they may need to match our creativity, too. LAFC has had a lot of work on their process the last couple years and you have to respect that, but we’re confident,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of Friday’s quarterfinal. “We have ourselves, we have this group of players who are committed to doing the right things and I know LA has to do a bunch of good things in order to get a result and we know that we have to do the same. It’s going to be a very good match.”

The Lions punched their ticket to the Quarterfinals with a 1-0 shutout victory over the Montreal Impact on Saturday night. Tesho Akindele scored the eventual game-winner for City in the 60th minute, his second finish of the MLS is Back Tournament, while goalkeeper Pedro Gallese had to make just one save to secure the shutout on the night.

Chris Mueller leads the side with four goals in 2020, followed by two from Akindele. Nani holds the team high in assists with two, with five others tied for second with one apiece.

LAFC earned their spot in the last eight of the tournament with a 4-1 victory over the defending MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders on Monday. Diego Rossi opened the scoring in the 14th minute, converting from the penalty spot, followed by a finish from Latif Blessing in the 39th. Will Bruin cut the deficit in half for the Sounders in the 75th minute, but LAFC answered with goals from Rossi and Brian Rodríguez in the 82nd and 89th minutes, respectively.

Rossi is the current Golden Boot leader for the tournament, with seven finishes through LAFC’s four matches. Blessing leads the side in assists in 2020 with four.

The winner of Friday’s match will face the winner of San Jose vs. Minnesota (Aug. 1, 8 p.m. ET) in the Semifinals on Thursday, Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. ET.

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