Match Preview

PREVIEW | FC Cincinnati head to Florida seeking third straight win over Orlando City SC


FC Cincinnati are set for their first road trip of the season, as they prepare to face Orlando City SC on Saturday, March 4 at Exploria Stadium. Saturday’s game will be the eighth all-time meeting between the two sides and the fourth in Orlando. The Orange and Blue swept the Lions last season, defeating Orlando in both matchups.

The match is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV and fans can also listen to the match on ESPN 1530.

Stream: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
TV Talent (English): Tyler Terens (play-by-play), Devon Kerr (analyst)
TV Talent (Spanish): Sergio Ruiz (play-by-play), Miguel Gallardo (analyst)
Radio: ESPN 1530
Radio Talent: Tom Gelehrter (play-by-play), Kevin McCloskey (analyst)

Be sure to follow @FCCincinnati on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for live updates from the game.

Saturday’s game will air live exclusively on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. FC Cincinnati fans can sign up for MLS Season Pass HERE for the unprecedented subscription service featuring every MLS regular season, playoff and Leagues Cup match.

With MLS Season Pass, fans can stream every single MLS match through the Apple TV app, without any local blackouts. Fans do not need to be an Apple TV+ subscriber to purchase MLS Season Pass, but Apple TV+ subscribers receive a discount.

Each full-season ticket account will include one subscription to MLS Season Pass on Apple TV (one per account). Season Ticket Members should check their email for information. FAQ for Season Ticket Members

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Fans can head to one of the club’s 18 official Pub Partners, presented by Coors Light, across Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Indiana. Pub Partners are the spot to go to watch the Orange and Blue in 2023, and feature watch parties, drink specials and convenient locations for fans to gather to watch FC Cincinnati.

For more information on Pub Partners, visit

Orlando City SC hold a slight edge in the all-time series against the Orange and Blue. The Lions are 3-2-2 head-to-head and 2-1-0 in Orlando.

Orlando City were one of eight Eastern Conference teams to earn three points over the opening week of the MLS season. Facundo Torres’ second-half penalty, the only shot on target registered by Orlando City, was enough to see the Lions past the New York Red Bulls at Exploria Stadium last Saturday.

Head Coach Óscar Pareja leads the Lions in his fourth season at the helm. Since hiring Pareja in December of 2019, Orlando City have finished no lower than seventh in the Eastern Conference and have occupied a postseason spot for three straight seasons. Tournament successes for Pareja include capturing last season’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title and a second-place finish in the MLS Is Back Tournament in 2020.

Their U.S. Open Cup-raising campaign from last season landed them in the Concacaf Champions League for the first time. Following Saturday’s matchup against Cincinnati, the Lions will have a quick turnaround to face Tigres UANL in Mexico in the Round of 16 on Tuesday night.

Orlando City were active this offseason, adding depth and strengthening the squad after suffering a first-round playoff loss to CF Montréal in 2022. Martin Ojeda, who joined Orlando City as the team’s third Designated Player in January, spotlights those acquisitions and forms a formidable attacking trio next to Ercan Kara and the aforementioned Facundo Torres.

And Ojeda’s services are much needed in Orlando. Kara and Torres combined for 20 goals and 13 assists in 2022 and were, unsurprisingly, the top two goal scorers for the club with 11 and nine, respectively. No other player scored more than five goals for City with Júnior Urso (five goals) and Tesho Akindele (three goals) departing from the club this offseason. Ojeda brings his 13 goals and 14 assists across all competitions with Argentine side CD Godoy Cruz to Orlando.

The Lions struggled defensively last year, ending the regular season with a -9 goal differential, tied for the lowest total of any Eastern Conference playoff team and lower than 11th place Atlanta United. The addition of defenders Rafael Santos, Luca Petrasso and 2023 MLS SuperDraft pick Abdi Salim should help see those numbers improve. Saturday was a good start for the backline which held New York Red Bulls goalless over the opening weekend.

STARTING STRONG – Saturday’s win against Houston Dynamo FC was the first time since joining MLS that the Orange and Blue picked up three points in the opening match of the season. The 2-1 win puts FC Cincinnati in fifth place after one week of play.

Another win and the first 2-0-0 start in club history would be something the club’s USL predecessor only accomplished once (2018).

TURNING TIDES – Orlando City earned wins or draws in the first five matches between the two sides. However, the last two meetings have gone the way of FC Cincinnati. FCC picked up their first win against the Lions in Orlando last March, 2-1, and held serve at TQL Stadium in June by a score of 1-0.

Only once in club history have the Orange and Blue defeated an opponent in three straight matchups (CF Montréal - May 11, 2019; Sept. 14, 2019; May 22, 2021).

SUNSHINE AND GOALS – Brandon Vazquez scored 18 goals for the Orange and Blue last season, finishing tied for fourth in the Golden Boot race. But Vazquez failed to find the back of the net in his first two appearances in 2022 before making a road trip to Orlando.

Vazquez torched the Lions for two goals on six shots, a season- and career-high, and scored the game-winning goal early in the second half. Vazquez will look to open his 2023 account in the Sunshine State on Saturday.

ANYONE ELSE? – Last Saturday, Sergio Santos and Obinna Nwobodo, who earned MLS Team of the Matchday honors, each scored their first goals with FC Cincinnati, becoming the 34th and 35th different goal scorers for FC Cincinnati in MLS competition.

That marked the first time two FCC players scored their first goals with the club in the same game since August 27, 2021 at Columbus Crew (Ronald Matarrita, Isaac Atanga).

THE CINCINNATI KID – Nick Hagglund hit two milestones last Saturday against Houston Dynamo FC. The Cincinnati native, and FC Cincinnati’s all-time leader in games played, starts and minutes, surpassed 7,000 career MLS minutes with the Orange and Blue (7,026), and made his 90th MLS appearance with the club.

He is just four appearances away from becoming the first player in club history to make 100 appearances across all competitions for FC Cincinnati.

Head Coach Pat Noonan on Orlando City SC
“A very difficult opponent, a lot of good technical players, good positional discipline in how they move the ball and how they play forward. You know, they're tough. They play with energy, they play physical. We know it'll be a challenging game, the personnel that we'll see is a little bit … there's some uncertainty if they rotate, with only two days rest (before the Concacaf Champions League), but we'll prepare for their strongest group and make adjustments accordingly."

Visit HERE for FC Cincinnati’s 2023 home platform match schedule. The full 2023 regular season schedule can be viewed HERE. All matches will air live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. The unprecedented subscription service featuring every MLS regular season, playoff and Leagues Cup match is available now.

All tickets, including Single Match TicketsFull Season Tickets and Half Season “Orange” and “Blue” Ticket packages, can be purchased at or by calling (513) 977-5425 (KICK). For more information about Group Tickets and Premium hospitality options including suites and all-inclusive experiences, call (513) 763-1025.

For up-to-the-minute information about FC Cincinnati, visit the team’s official website at, or follow the team on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @FCCincinnati. Additionally, fans are encouraged to download the team’s official mobile app on the Apple App Store or Google Play for instant access to mobile tickets, team content and match notifications.