Orlando Unveils Preseason Plans Ahead Of Cavalry Clash
Cavalry’s continental clash against MLS visitors Orlando will be their opposition’s seventh match of the new year.
The preseason preparations for visiting Orlando City SC will see them face three MLS sides, one Brazilian top flight giant, a university side and a USL Championship expansion team ahead of their opening cup match set for Starlight Stadium in British Columbia.
Cavalry will host Orlando there on February 21, playing their first-ever continental match in neighboring BC due to seasonal constraints back home in Alberta. At the moment, it’s unclear what the host’s own preseason preparations look like, though January was always set to be their start date, too.
Cavalry’s Florida-based visitors will come in with some good matches under their belt: for starters, they’ll kick off their own preseason next week before hosting Brazilian Serie A side Flamengo on January 27.
After that, Orlando will embark to Port St. Lucie for a one week training camp that concludes with a scrimmage against Florida International University. They’ll then square off against USL newcomers Rhode Island FC before a trio of MLS sides cap off their preseason a week later, with games against New England Revolution, Houston Dynamo, and the Colorado Rapids all coming between February 10-17.
That fast sequences of matches precedes their first leg cup match against Cavalry on February 21, with head coach Oscar Pareja hoping to instill a fair amount of match fitness in his group beforehand. Orlando’s preseason matches will be closed to public barring the February 10 match against New England, which is open to supporters’ group Society XXI members.
Orlando – with a roster valued at just over $61 million dollars on Transfermarkt – is headlined by Uruguay international Fucundo Torres and Argentine midfielder Martin Ojeda, with the club recently adding two-time MLS winner Nicolas Lodeiro, who won the Champions Cup with Seattle just last year.
Last season saw Cavalry head to Portland for their own preseason camp, with matches against Tacoma Defiance, Portland Pilots, Valour FC, and FC Tigers Vancouver preceding their own season opener. In 2022 they flew to Mexico, though it’s unclear how far they’ll travel to avoid Alberta’s cold this month, where a low of -36 could hit ahead of Friday.
The Calgary-based club qualified for the Concacaf Champions Cup by virtue of finishing the regular season top of the table, while Orlando earned a berth through a next-best 2023 Supporters’ Shield standing slot from MLS play.
Despite the stock of their opponent, Cavalry boss Tommy Wheeldon Jr. says he’s looking forward to the challenge. He’s knocked out MLS competition before, making history in 2019 by taking the Whitecaps out of contention in the Canadian Championship.
“Orlando City are a team that have proven to be a very strong club with a terrific fanbase,” said Tommy himself on the matchup. “Under coach Oscar Pareja, they have proven to be tactically organized and play a good brand of football.”
Following Cavalry’s home leg on February 21, the team will fly to Orlando to play the away leg at Exploria Stadium on February 27. The Canadian Premier League’s own season schedule is yet to be unveiled.
Header Image Photo Credit: Orlando City SC