Following two consecutive draws to open the 2021 season, Orlando City will return home to face a struggling FC Cincinnati Saturday night at 7:30. The match will be broadcast on Fox 35 Plus as well as the new LionNation TV.
The Lions will finally have back the services of midfielder Mauricio Pereyra, who missed the first two matches due to a two-game suspension carrying over from the end of last season.
“We still expect it’s going to be full of energy from a team (Cincinatti) that has, and wants to bounce back and with professional players that would like to perform and get points here,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said during the week. “So, we will do it with a lot of responsibility thinking that our assessment about that game that is like any other of ours. We have to just get ready for the next one and try to do the best.”
Alexandre Pato remains questionable, along with Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson and Uri Rosell, all listed with “lower body injuries.” David Loera is a new addition added to the injury list, though he is listed as out with a “lower body injury.”
For FC Cincinnati, they are coming off a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of New York City FC this past week. Despite all of their attacking signings this offseason, including Luciano Acosta and Brenner, they were held scoreless, mainly due to the goalkeeping of former UCF product Sean Johnson.
For Lions forward Tesho Akindele, despite their struggles, he expects a competitive match against a dangerous team.
“I expect a good team,” Akindele said. “They’ve made a lot of additions to their team in the offseason and they’re coming off a tough loss, so you know that they’re going to be looking to bounce back, they’re going to come out with a lot of energy so we’re expecting a team that’s looking for a fight.”
The Lions will remain at home for their next game, hosting NYCFC on May 8.
Dike to remain in England through Championship playoff
The saga of Daryl Dike in the UK continues as the end of the Barnsley season comes close. Reports last week mentioned that Orlando could recall the in-form striker before Barnsley’s playoff run to hopefully earn promotion to the Premier League.
However, Orlando City announced that Dike would, in fact, remain on loan through the end of the EFL Championship Playoffs. The playoffs start on May 17th, with the semifinals finishing on May 22nd, which would be the earliest Dike could return. If Barnsley make the final, May 29th would be Dike’s final game in the EFL.
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