LAST TIME AROUND
The Rapids last faced Orlando City SC in a 1-1 draw at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park on July 13, 2022. After going down by one in the first half, striker Gyasi Zardes found the equalizer for the Burgundy Boys in the 65th minute when forward Michael Barrios slotted a low pass to the near post. Zardes beat his defender to slide in the six and slipping the ball to the far post past Orlando City SC goalkeeper Pedro Gallese’s outstretched hand. In this match, forward Jonathan Lewis recorded his 50th start and 5,000 minutes in MLS, while winger Sam Nicholson recorded his first game back at DSGP since returning to the Rapids from Bristol Rovers. The Rapids are currently unbeaten against Orlando in their last two encounters, but are looking for their first win at Exploria Stadium on Saturday.
Orlando enters Saturday’s contest against the Rapids unbeaten in their last five matches (2-0-3). The Lions have three players leading their side with four goals each (Ercan Kara, Duncan McGuire and Facundo Torres). Midfielder Martín Ojeda has been the top playmaker with five assists in 2023. Between the posts, goalkeeper Pedro Gallese has recorded four shutouts.
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE
Rapids defender Lalas Abubakar scored his first MLS goal on August 19, 2017, against Orlando, while playing for the Columbus Crew.
Homegrown midfielder Cole Bassett recorded his first MLS assist on April 6, 2019, against Orlando. Bassett logged the assist in the 61st minute of the match just before scoring a goal of his own in the 71st minute in what ultimately ended as a 4-3 loss at Exploria Stadium.
Rapids forward Darren Yapi will be available for selection on Saturday after returning from the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Argentina with the U.S. The homegrown forward featured in all three of the United States’ group stage matches, earning the start in their 3-0 win over Fiji. The U.S. reached the quarter-finals of the competition, falling 2-0 to Uruguay.
A product of the Rapids Academy, Yapi became the youngest player in club history to sign a professional contract with the Rapids when he became a Homegrown Player at age 16. The 18-year-old made his MLS debut on March 12, 2022, and has gone on to make 21 appearances for the Rapids since then, while also contributing to the club’s MLS NEXT Pro side, Rapids 2, with six goals from 16 appearances during their inaugural season in 2022.
- Orlando City SC head coach Oscar Pareja earned his first head coaching opportunity in MLS in 2012 when he was named the head coach of the Rapids. Pareja led the club to the playoffs in 2013 and finished with a 25-30-13 record across two seasons with the club.
- Rapids defender Lalas Abubakar and Orlando forward Abdul Mohammed were both born in Kumasi, Ghana.
- Orlando defender Luca Petrasso and Rapids midfielder Ralph Priso were teammates in 2022 at Toronto FC.
- F Diego Rubio is one goal away from tying John Spencer for fourth-most goals in club history (37).
- Rubio is one assist away from tying Dillon Powers for sixth-most in club history (26).
- Rubio is one game-winning assist away from tying Ross Paule for the third most in club history (9).
- Rubio is 69 minutes away from recording 10,000 minutes in MLS.
- F Michael Barrios is one start away from collecting his 50th start as a member of the Rapids.
- M Bryan Acosta is just four appearances away from collecting his 100th appearance in MLS.
- M/F Sam Nicholson is two appearances away from collecting his 100th MLS appearance.
- GK William Yarbrough is four appearances away from collecting his 100th as a member of the Rapids. The two-time Liga MX champion would become just the fourth goalkeeper in club history to reach that feat.
- D Anthony Markanich is 10 minutes away from recording 500 minutes with the Rapids. Markanich was drafted by the Rapids with the 26th overall pick by Colorado in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft.