There is a break from regular season MLS play this Wednesday as Orlando City SC embark on a Round of Last 16 tie against Florida rivals Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Earning only their second clean sheet of 2016 when eliminating Jacksonville Armada 0-1 in the fourth round earlier this June, a quarter-final game against either Chicago Fire or Columbus Crew lies in wait for the winner of this one.
Performing well in difficult circumstances with the 0-1 victory over Armada coming just three days after the tragic Orlando shooting, Adrian Heath‘s men will be hoping to make home advantage count at Camping World Stadium.
While Orlando City SC have previous against fellow Florida rivals Jacksonville Armada and principal enemy Tampa Bay Rowdies, Wednesday evening’s fixture is the first time they’ve faced Caio Zanardi’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers competitively.
With Orlando being only shy of a three-hour drive north west of Fort Lauderdale whose supporters will make the trek along I-95 north and then Florida’s Turnpike, there is naturally added spice to this fixture.
So while the midweek game will represent a fresh experience for both sets of supporters, we’ve still crunched the numbers to come up with your regular pre-game stats pack below!
Despite both teams being based in Florida, Orlando City SC and Fort Lauderdale Strikers have managed to avoid one another in a competitive fixture thus far.
However, some morale can be taken from the fact that ahead of the 2016 campaign, Adrian Heath‘s men did earn a pre-season friendly victory over the Strikers.
2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
After that crazy 4-4 game against Charleston Battery that Orlando City SC eventually progressed in via penalties last season, Adrian Heath‘s men then went onto dump Columbus Crew out at this stage in 2015.
Two first half strikes from both Kaká and Carlos Rivas proved enough to overcome Gregg Berhalter’s men 2-0 in the Round of Last 16 in the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and a similar result wouldn’t go amiss this time!
Simply due to the fact that Orlando City SC have been conceding far too many goals so far this season in Major League Soccer!
Orlando City SC 2 Columbus Crew 0 – Full Game Highlights – June 30, 2015 (Credit: U.S. Soccer)
Unfortunately for Orlando City SC, that 2-0 victory against Columbus Crew in last season’s Round of Last 16 stage was the final time the Lions tasted joy in the competition for 2015.
Then going down 3-1 to Chicago Fire, whom City may face at the quarter-final stage for a second consecutive season, a late brace from Kennedy Igboananike proved the difference after Cyle Larin had initially cancelled out Patrick Nyarko’s third minute opener in the second-half.
Chicago Fire 3 Orlando City SC 1 – Highlights – July 22, 2015 (Credit: Chicago Fire)
Orlando City SC form
There was an unlikely goalscorer for Orlando City SC in the fourth round of this season’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when David Mateos‘ solitary strike proved the difference against Jacksonville Armada earlier this month.
This ensured that Orlando City SC have managed to score AT LEAST ONE GOAL in their last FOUR Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fixtures.
- June 17th 2015 – Charleston Battery 4 Orlando City SC 4 (7-8 on penalties)
- June 30th 2015 – Orlando City SC 2 Columbus Crew 0
- July 22nd 2015 – Chicago Fire 3 Orlando City SC 1
- June 15th 2016 – Jacksonville Armada 0 Orlando City SC 1
Fort Lauderdale Strikers form
As is the case in all major knockout competitions worldwide, top level teams and in this case Major League Soccer franchises are expected to prevail come the final reckoning in the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
After all, the Rochester Rhinos (1999) remain the ONLY non-MLS team to have won the tournament since its inception back in 1996.
Nevertheless, flying the flag for the non-league as it were, Fort Lauderdale Strikers are one of only TWO North American Soccer League (NASL) franchises remaining in this year’s competition at the Round of Last 16 stage.
The other is of course New York Cosmos who dumped out our 2015 expansion rivals New York City FC in the fourth round.
And how did Fort Lauderdale Strikers get to this stage of the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup I hear you ask?
Well, Caio Zanardi’s men took everybody by surprise when pulling off a giant killing when defeating MLS franchise D.C. United back on June 15th.
0-0 after extra-time, the Strikers ended up beating D.C. 3-4 in the penalty shootout, impressive enough not only due to the fact they were facing higher level opposition but also due to the fact they were playing away in Maryland.
This was also Fort Lauderdale Strikers’ SECOND penalty shootout victory in this year’s U.S. Open Cup with Zanardi’s men having also progressed past Richmond Kickers in this fashion back in the third round.
D.C. United 0 Fort Lauderdale Strikers 0 (A.E.T) (7-8 P) – Full Game Highlights – June 15, 2016 (Credit: U.S. Soccer)
We hope it doesn’t get to this stage on Wednesday with Orlando City SC hopefully having got the game won within 90 minutes!
When it comes down to Fort Lauderdale Strikers’ league form in NASL, there has been a strange pattern emerging of late.
There have been exactly THREE goals scored in the Strikers’ last FOUR league fixtures with the final results either proving 1-2 or 2-1.
With the Strikers’ having been on the right end of THREE of those FOUR fixtures, Fort Lauderdale Strikers were currently in sixth position (15 points) from eleven teams in NASL at the time this stats preview was written.