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PREVIEW: Orlando City Returns to Action Against Toronto FC on Saturday

Lions to play against the Reds in closed-door match at Exploria Stadium


ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City SC (3-1-3, 12 points) returns to the pitch following a near three-week break from play to take on Toronto FC (1-4-2, 5 points) on Saturday, June 19. While the Lions will serve as the away side on the day, the match will be played at Exploria Stadium and will be closed to spectators.


Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET with coverage set to begin at 7 p.m. ET on FOX35 PLUS. The match, presented by Heineken, in addition to being locally broadcast on FOX35 PLUS will be available to stream on LionNation TV, while being transmitted on 96.9 The Game in English and Acción 97.9FM, 810AM in Spanish.


“Excited to get back to the competition again, especially to play against a good rival in Toronto that we faced already a few weeks ago. [We’re] trying to get the whole group together again after having players at their national teams, some players carrying injuries and things like that,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said ahead of Saturday’s match. “We’re looking forward to the competition, especially this coming week that is full of games. We’re excited.”


City will look for its second result against the Reds this year on Saturday night, defeating the weekend’s opposition nearly a month ago at Exploria Stadium. Tesho Akindele scored the eventual game-winner for the Lions in that match in the 12th minute of play, with Silvester van der Water and Kyle Smith earning the assist on the finish.


Saturday’s match will serve as the first for the Lions since May 29 at Red Bull Arena, with the visitors dropping their first result of the year in a 2-1 defeat after beginning the season at six matches unbeaten. Silvester van der Water scored the lone goal for City on the afternoon, his first as a Lion.


Nani leads City with three finishes this season, set to return from a two-game suspension on Saturday. Akindele follows with two, while sitting tied for the team lead in assists with Chris Mueller and Kyle Smith.


Toronto returns to the field after dropping a 2-1 decision to the Columbus Crew in their last outing. Luis Diaz and Gyasi Zardes each found the back of the net in the first half, with Ayo Akinola halving the deficit after the break to account for the Reds’ lone finish in the match.


Eight different members of the Toronto roster have found the back of the net this campaign, with Michael Bradley leading the side with two assists.


Following Saturday’s match, the Lions will remain in The City Beautiful to take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday, June 22 in front of a full-capacity crowd at Exploria Stadium.

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