Game: Orlando City Soccer Club vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Thursday, August 12th
Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 p.m. Central, 4:00 p.m. Pacific, 11:00 p.m. UTC
Venue: Exploria Stadium (Orlando, Fla.)
Santos Laguna heads to Central Florida as they take on Orlando City SC in the first round of Leagues Cup play. Santos are coming off of a sour draw against Tigres where they saw a lead slip away late and are also heading into their second game of a stretch of five games in just 14 days.
The good news for Santos is that they have some players that could use some match experience, and a not-quite-a-friendly like the Leagues Cup match could be a good time to get these players minutes. Alessio Da Cruz and Brian Lozano are both on the rosters for the Leagues Cup, and Lozano tweeted a video of him working out at Holox (Santos’ fitness facilities at TSM). It might be a good opportunity to get players like Hugo Rodríguez, Jesús Isijara, Ignacio Jeraldino, and Andrés Ibargüen some quality minutes against a good opponent without the pressure of a Liga MX match.
The bad news is that Orlando City are a good team and Orlando in the summer is not an easy place to play soccer. The humidity can crush you. The sweat from your body doesn’t evaporate quickly enough to cool you down, and players will lose a measurable amount of weight during a soccer match.
Orlando has quality players as well. Perhaps best known is Manchester United legend Nani, but lesser known players such as Tesho Akindele and Mauricio Pereyra who along with Nani are the keys to Orlando’s offense. And Liga MX fans will recognize both goalkeeper Pedro Gallese from his brilliant stint with Veracruz and manager Óscar Pareja managed Xolos for a couple of seasons.