Orlando City SC, one of the surprise MLS teams of 2020, will look to continue a record unbeaten run Sunday when the Lions battle FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas.
The Lions won at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday to extend their club-record streak to seven games without a loss. Coach Oscar Pareja takes his sizzling club into something of a homecoming, visiting the same FC Dallas club where he spent 18 years as a player, assistant and coach. He led Dallas for five seasons (2015-18) before spending a year at Tijuana in Liga MX and then signing with Orlando City last December.
Pareja has transformed the Lions from a team who last year finished next to last in the East into a competitive outfit that reached the final of the MLS is Back Tournament. Orlando City (7-2-4, 25 points) is currently second in the Eastern Conference behind Columbus.
Tesho Akindele and Benji Michel scored in the 2-1 win at Kansas City. Akindele, who was the MLS Rookie of the Year in 2014 after being drafted by FC Dallas, scored his second goal of the MLS regular season. Michel netted his fourth goal in Orlando City's past five matches
"We're very proud of the three points, and the reason for the happiness is that we beat one of the best teams in the West," Pareja said. "We know how hard it is to come here and beat Kansas (City) and get points. The effort that we had in order to have that presence in these last games has been very consistent."
Dallas (5-3-4, 19 points) had its three-match winning streak snapped on Wednesday when it fell at Atlanta United 1-0 on a penalty kick by Atlanta's Jeff Larentowicz in the 55th minute. That goal came after video review confirmed a handball inside the box by Dallas defender Matt Hedges.
Dallas, currently fourth in the Western Conference, has been led by its defense, surrendering just 13 goals this season.
"We've gotten some results recently, but we want to improve in performance and what we want to do with the ball, how we want to control games in the midfield, our presses," FC Dallas coach Luchi Gonzalez said. "There's a lot of things that we are excited to keep working on and improving."
Dallas has a 3-1-1 lead in the all-time series. Dallas has won both matches in Texas, outscoring Orlando City 6-0 over those two games.
--Field Level Media