Orlando City to Face Minnesota United in MLS Is Back Semifinals
ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando City SC will face Minnesota United on Thursday, Aug. 6 in the Semifinals of the MLS is Back Tournament Knockout Stage presented by Audi. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in neighboring Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The match will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes, while being transmitted on 96.9 The Game in English and AcciÃ³n 97.9FM, 810AM in Spanish. For a match preview, fans can tune into the Orlando City Roundtable presented by Orlando International Airport (MCO) ahead of Thursday's match, streaming on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and the LionNation App.
"I think Minnesota last year found a way to get in much better quality in terms of results and the product of their soccer too. What they have done here in the tournament as well has been very good. It's a team that is very well-organized and we have been analyzing their games," Head Coach Oscar Pareja said of Thursday's opposition. "One of the things that has given me a lot of joy here is to see how much Major League Soccer is growing in terms of ideologies and models of the game. Now we need to figure a new team out every week, it's not just copy and paste. Major League Soccer is growing tremendously and I think we're showing the world that we're going in a great direction."
The Lions enter the Semifinals fresh off a dramatic victory over tournament favorites LAFC on Friday in their Quarterfinal fixture. The two sides finished regulation deadlocked at 1-1, with LAFC striking first in the 60th minute off the foot of Bradley Wright-Phillips only to be answered by João Moutinho for the Lions in the 90th minute to force a penalty shootout. City converted all five of their shots from the spot, with Nani's strike sealing the victory for the Lions after LAFC missed their second attempt.
Chris Mueller leads the Lions with four goals in 2020, followed by Tesho Akindele with two. Nani holds the team high in assists with three, all of which have come at the MLS is Back Tournament.
Minnesota punched its ticket to the Semifinals with a 4-1 victory over San Jose on Saturday night. The Loons jumped out to an early two-goal lead, with Robin Lod scoring in the 20th minute followed by Jacori Hayes a minute later. The Earthquakes got one back shortly after the halftime break in the 50th minute with Magnus Eriksson converting from the penalty spot, but Minnesota answered right back with a finish from Luis Amarilla in the 56th. Marlon Hairston sealed the victory for the Loons late, adding a fourth in the 86th minute.
Amarilla now sits tied with former Orlando City midfielder Kevin Molino with three goals in 2020 across all competitions, followed by Lod with two, one scored in each of the Loons' two knockout stage matches.
The winner of Thursday's match will earn a berth in the MLS is Back Tournament Final on Tuesday, Aug. 11 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
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