ORLANDO, LF – Orlando City SC defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 in their opening match of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup last night at Exploria Stadium.
With the win, the Lions advance to the round of 32 round in the cup.
The match was a flash back of the I-4 Derby against Tampa Bay when both teams were in the USL. The teams have not gone head to head in the Derby since 2014 then they both competed in the thrift round of play against each other.
Orlando’s Alexandre Pato and Junior Urso scored for the game. Both have three goals so far this season, tying them for the team lead in scoring. Terrance Williams, a homegrown talent, was also on the itch for Orlando as a starter, after playing with them in their recent match against Columbus.
“We dedicate this to our people” said Lions Head Coach Oscar Pareja “..and I was very glad to see them in the stands pushing our team in difficult moments. We really enjoyed this victory with a lot of respect for Tampa who came out with a great attitude in the game and is a very good team, a team who brought a lot of energy and created a lot of trouble, especially in the first half. We were quiet in the first half, I don’t think we dominated the game. I have to give credit to Tampa”
Orlando started the scoring shortly after the half, when Benji Michel was fouled in the box. Alexandre Pato stepped up and put the goal in on the left side against goalkeeper Raiko Arozarena in the 52nd minute. It was Pato’s first U.S. Cup goal.
In the 63rd minute, Júnior Urso took a deflection that feel to his fee and was able to strike it into the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Lucky Mkosana slid a loose ball into the back of the net, halving the score.
The Lions return to Exploria Stadium on Sunday, April 24, set to host the New York Red Bulls in a 3:30 p.m. ET kickoff.