Colorado Rapids 2013 Open Cup Opponent: Orlando City SC

USL Pro team has bowed out of last two Open Cups with 3-2 losses to FC Dallas and Sporting KC

Jamie Watson with Orlando City FC

Photo Credit: 
Alex Schierholz / Sportstalk Florida via Orlando City SC

The Colorado Rapids take on Orlando City SC in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. MT at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla (WATCH LIVE STREAM). It is Colorado's fourth-ever Open Cup match against a team from Florida. Click here for Orlando City SC's official website.

Orlando City SC History:

Orlando City SC compete in the Professional division of the United Soccer Leagues (USL PRO), the third tier in the U.S. Soccer professional pyramid. The club was founded in 2010 and began play in the USL PRO in 2011. Orlando won the 2011 Supporters Shield and the USL PRO Championship. In 2012 they repeated as Supporters Shield winners with a 17-6-1 (W-L-T) regular season record but fell out of the playoffs in the semifinal round with a 4-3 loss to the Wilmington Hammerheads.

Orlando currently sit at the top of the 2013 USL PRO table with an 8-1-2 record with 16 games left in the 2013 regular season.

Open Cup:

This year marks only the third Open Cup appearance for the Lions. The team bowed out in third round in both 2011 and 2012.

In 2011 Orlando City defeated ASC New Stars 4-0 in the first round, took out the Charleston Battery 1-0 in the second round, and were eliminated in heartbreaking fashion to FC Dallas in the Third Round. The Lions had tied the match at 2-2 in stoppage time only to see the home side net the game-winner a minute later. (RECAP)

Last year, Orlando City entered the tournament in the second round and defeated KC Athletics (USASA) a whopping 7-0. They once again were eliminated by an MLS team, falling to Sporting Kansas City with a tough 3-2 loss in the Third Round.

To get to tonight’s game, Orlando City defeated the Ocala Stampede (USL PDL) 3-2 in Ocala last Tuesday in the second round match.

Head Coach:

Adrian Heath was hired as the club’s first manager and is in his third season with Orlando City. Heath has led the team to a 32-4-12 all-time record - the best record in USL PRO – earning him back-to-back Coach of the Year awards. Before becoming a manager, Heath had a long and successful playing career. He got his start with Stoke City in 1979, scoring 16 goals in 95 matches during his three seasons, and then joined Everton in 1982 where he went on to score 71 goals in 226 matches through 1988. He spent the rest of his playing career at various clubs around Spain and Europe, and finally hung up his boots in 1996 to begin coaching.

Key Players:

On the pitch, an Orlando City fan favorite is third-year midfielder Jamie Watson. He was drafted 13th overall as a Generation adidas player by Real Salt Lake in the 2005 MLS SuperDraft and scored two goals in 38 matches for the Utah side before being waived in January 2008. He also had stints with the Austin Aztex (USL PDL), FC Dallas (MLS), Charleston Battery (USL PRO), Wilmington Hammerheads, Austin Aztex (USL-1) and before landing at Orlando City. Watson is one of the few players in American soccer to have scored in all four divisions of U.S. Soccer, and six total professional leagues (MLS, USL-2, USL-1, USSF D-2, USL PRO, NASL).

Forward Dom Dwyer was drafted 16th overall in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft by Sporting KC and made one appearance with the club in his debut season. He went on trial with Scottish side St. Mirren, but ultimately joined Orlando City on loan at the start of the current season where he has made an immediate impact on the club. In Orlando’s last match, a 4-1 victory over the Wilmington Hammerheads on May 25, Dwyer scored his 13th goal of the season and tied the USL’s single-season scoring record (originally set by Jhonny Ortega of FC New York in 2011). Dwyer is one of four players on loan from Sporting KC players. The others are Christian Duke, Jon Kempin, and Yan Songo'o.

Former Colorado Rapids defender Rob Valentino anchors the Lion's backline. The Rapids acquired Valentino in a trade with New England in 2009 for Nico Cololuca. Valentino's only appearance for the Rapids came in a 2009 Open Cup qualifying 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders. He was released in April 2010.

Other notable players on the Lions roster include goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo, who holds the league record for clean sheets in a season (11 in 2011), Long Tan, a former Vancouver Whitecaps and D.C. United striker, Kevin Toledo, a Trinidad and Tobago National Team player, and Jean Alexandre, who played with Real Salt Lake and the San Jose Earthquakes.

After the Open Cup game, the Lions next continue their USL PRO season against Phoenix FC at home on June 7.