The I-4 Derby could return in the fourth round of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Orlando City will host the winner of the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the USL and NASL side Miami FC. That match is set to take place on Wednesday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m. at Riccardo Silva Stadium in Miami. The winner will be thrown to the Lions at Orlando City Stadium likely on Wednesday, June 14, at 7 or 7:30 p.m., although U.S. Soccer said some games could be moved up to Tuesday, June 13.
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) May 18, 2017
Orlando has a rare weekend off before that match will take place, so the Lions might prefer to play on the Tuesday night with a Saturday game looming just days later against the Montreal Impact on June 17.
The last time Orlando City and Tampa Bay met, the Rowdies defeated OCSC’s reserve side OCB, 1-0, at Al Lang Stadium to open the USL season on March 25. It was Tampa’s first ever win over an Orlando City team in seven matches. Georgi Hristov provided the lone goal of that game on a penalty kick in the 56th minute after Leo Fernandes was fouled by OCB goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. in the box.
The Rowdies reached the third round of the tournament with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Jacksonville Armada U-23s at Al Lang Stadium on May 16. The next night, Miami FC advanced with a 3-2 victory over PDL side South Florida Surf at Cobb Stadium at the University of Miami.
Both teams have familiar faces. Tampa Bay’s roster includes former Lions Luke Boden and Martin Paterson. Rowdies striker Deshorn Brown scored a U.S. Open Cup goal against Orlando while he was with the Colorado Rapids. And, of course, Tampa Bay features former Chelsea and England star, Joe Cole. Miami FC defender Brad Rusin is an ex-Lion and midfielder Kwadwo Poku has faced Orlando multiple times with New York City FC in 2015.
Orlando City is 10-6-1 all-time in the competition — advancing after an 8-7 penalty shootout win against Charleston Battery after a 4-4 draw in 2015 — and has advanced as far as the quarterfinals twice, in 2013 and 2015. The Lions were knocked out of the quarterfinals both times by the Chicago Fire.
Last season, the Lions defeated Jacksonville Armada away, 1-0, in the fourth round before bowing out with a 2-1 extra-time loss at home to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the fifth round. Current Orlando City left back PC scored the game winner at the death — just seconds away from penalties — in the Strikers’ only shot attempt after halftime.
This will be Orlando City’s first competitive match outside of MLS at Orlando City Stadium.