Orlando City Opens Preseason 1-1 vs Flamengo

ORLANDO -Orlando City kicked off the 2024 preseason with a 1-1 draw against Clube De Regatas Do Flamengo. It was the first game at the newly named Inter&Co Stadium and provided a great test for an Orlando team with high expectations heading into the Major League Soccer regular season.

Orlando, Florida, USA, April 29, 2023, Flamengo and Orlando City SC players fight for the ball during the FC Series at Inter&Co Stadium. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

“We are a good team and we are a big club in Major League Soccer, and Major League Soccer is growing at a very good speed among the world,” Lions’ coach Oscar Pareja said. “I’m very proud of the competition that the players showed because sometimes we see outside, big giants, and [Flamengo] probably are but we are as well.”

The game was the debut of Orlando’s rookie midfielder Jeorgio Kocevski. The rookie was the 21st pick of the MLS Super Draft.

Also in the starting lineup was new signee Nicolas Lodiero.

Flamengo’s fans filled the majority of the 22,000-plus seats in the stadium and held a massive party for their team before the game, with several thousand fans gathered around the Inter&Co Stadium’s entrance on Church St in downtown Orlando.

Orlando, Florida, USA, April 29, 2023, Flamengo forward Pedro Abreu dos Santos #9 reacts after making a goal in the first half during the FC Series at Inter&Co Stadium. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

Flamengo started off the scoring action in the 13th minute with an excellent build-up from the Brazilian side left the ball at the feet of forward Pedro, who slipped it past a diving Pedro Gallese.

The Lions returned to form after a little rust in the early match, making mistakes when charged by the aggressive Flamengo defense. But after 15 to 20 minutes, Orlando returned to 2023 form.

Regaining their offensive footing, Orlando was a different team. With sharp passes, more successful one on ones, and stronger defense.

In the 41st minute, Orlando City equalized the score. Lodiero issued a nice pass to Ivan Angelo for a score past Augistin Rossi.

With this being a pre season game for both sides, it was surprising to see both teams make wholesale roster changes. With 15 substitutes on the bench, Pareja used all but six in Saturday’s game.

Orlando now heads off to a week-long training camp in Cancun before a series of preseason scrimmages.

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