MLS: Orlando City chasing revenge vs. FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati strive to knock off Orlando City for the second time this season when the clubs meet Friday night in Cincinnati.

Standout forward Brandon Vazquez scored both goals when FC Cincinnati recorded a 2-1 win at Orlando City on March 12.

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Vazquez is tied for third in the league with eight goals after having the club’s lone tally in Saturday’s 1-1 tie with the host Philadelphia Union. He scored the goal on a diving header.

“I thought that was probably his strongest game overall,” FC Cincinnati coach Pat Noonan said of Vazquez. “I thought his ability to turn and allow us to move forward was very good, so (I’m) very pleased with his performance.”

Vazquez had nine goals in 82 MLS matches over parts of five MLS seasons prior to the breakout campaign. He also has three assists in 14 games (13 starts) this season.

Vazquez’s strong play is leading FC Cincinnati (6-7-2, 20 points) to their best season in their four MLS campaigns.

Orlando City (7-5-4, 25 points) also is faring well and is coming off a 2-1 home win over the Houston Dynamo. The Lions are 3-2-2 in their last seven games.

Ercan Kara scored both goals and Mauricio Pereyra assisted on both against Houston. Kara has a team-best six goals and Pereyra is tied for the league lead with eight assists.

“A very important victory,” Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja said afterward. “Great first half and we saw a lot of things that are natural with this team, but I thought we improved sequences in the quality. We kept saying that we have to be more polished and finish the games.”

The Lions weren’t very efficient in the earlier loss against Cincinnati, their only setback (3-1-2) in six all-time matchups.

They out-shot Cincinnati 18-9 and held possession for 69.5 percent of the game but sustained a frustrating defeat. Junior Urso scored for the Lions, his third all-time against Cincinnati.

Orlando City is 1-0-2 in the previous three meetings in southwest Ohio.

–Field Level Media

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