Match Preview: Orlando City turns focus to Sporting KC in first away game of season

oscar pareja 2021

For the second consecutive week since the start of the 2021 regular season, Orlando City again will depend on their rotating squad members when they take on Sporting Kansas City on Friday at Children’s Mercy Park.

The match, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on FS1, will feature an Orlando side without Alexandre Pato, Uri Rosell, and Robin Jansson because of injury, according to head coach Oscar Pareja.

The Lions will also be without Mauricio Pereyra, who will be serving his final match of a two-game suspension.

For Pareja, the week leading up to Friday’s match has provided a rapid turnaround as Orlando prepares for its first away game of the year.

“Quick turnaround now. We have the competition in front of us, we started after the game analyzing what we did against Atlanta [United] and how we can progress it,” Pareja told reporters on Wednesday. “Now we have just been organizing for the game against [Sporting] Kansas [City], that’s been the focus.”

Pato came down with a “lower-body injury” during last Saturday’s season opener against Atlanta United, and is expected to miss Friday’s match at Kansas City, according to Pareja. Meanwhile, Jansson and Rosell are still recovering but slowly coming back from lower body injuries as well, but the Orlando City coach also ruled them out against SKC.

Orlando is in search for its first win of the season after playing Atlanta to a scoreless draw last Saturday at Exploria Stadium during the season opener.

The Atlanta match saw the Lions create a slew of chances despite the below-par finishing. For forward Benji Michel, the focus against Sporting KC will be to correct those missed opportunities from the week prior.

“I just think this week we’ve been really dialed-in on the final third of our game,” said Michel. “We were unable to finish our chances last game, but this week we’ve been really dialed-in on that, hopefully we’ll got a lot of chances this game and we can put them away.”

The Lions are back home at Exploria on Saturday, May 1 against FC Cincinnati.

Exploria to host Gold Cup game

Exploria Stadium, home of Orlando City and the Orlando Pride, was selected to be a host venue to this summer’s Gold Cup tournament, Concacaf announced on Thursday. 

The competition, which will kickoff on July 10, will feature 16 national teams from across North America, Central America and the Caribbean. 

Details on the scheduling and ticketing information will be announced at a later date. 

Fans will be able to watch the Gold Cup this upcoming summer on Fox Sports and Univision networks.  

For more soccer news, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @osjsoccer


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