Thought the 2017 Orlando City SC hype only surrounded the club’s fantastic new soccer-specific stadium downtown?
Think again because the Lions are toasting their brilliant new facility in the best way possible, earning a one-hundred per cent record from two games following a 2-1 win over Philadelphia Union last night.
There is an unbelievable feel-good factor surrounding Orlando City SC right now and following the 1-0 win over New York City FC in our 2017 Major League Soccer home opener, Jason Kreis‘ men showed plenty more heart and desire against Union.
Aside from a few first-half chances spurned by Chris Pontius, Orlando City SC were the better side in the first 45 and so nearly took the lead through what would’ve been an Oguchi Onyewu own goal on 19 minutes.
Carelessly heading a punted José Aja up-field pass back towards his own goal, the former United States international hit his own bar when almost looping his header beyond a panicking Andre Blake.
Again, it was a long ball out of defence, this time by Jonathan Spector, that was latched onto by the explosive Carlos Rivas who collected the ball on the left wing before laying a superb cross into Cyle Larin for a tap in.
In fairness to Philadelphia Union, they didn’t let this setback deter them and it was only six minutes into the second-half that Jim Curtin’s side levelled up.
One of the few balls that Jonathan Spector didn’t connect to all night, a right wing Fabian Herbers cross received the faintest of touches by Alejandro Bedoya that set up C. J. Sapong for an easy header to equalise.
From this moment, the game really opened up with some end-to-end attacking from both sides but it was Orlando City SC that struck the crucial match winner on 73 minutes.
Winning possession in midfield, a sublime Carlos Rivas flick and perfectly weighted through pass from Matías Pérez García saw Cyle Larin race clear into a one-on-one situation with Andre Blake – and we all know Cyle doesn’t pass these chances up.
But in the end, it was another fantastic morale-boosting victory for Orlando City SC and all the more pleasing that we’ve now managed to see off two Eastern Conference sides by the odd goal.
On the early evidence, it appears that there is far more fight and resilience in the current group after Jason Kreis enjoyed an entire off-season with the team.
Now unfortunately having to endure an international break, Orlando City SC are next in action when they play their first away fixture of the 2017 MLS campaign at Columbus Crew on Saturday April 1st.
Orlando City SC 2 Philadelphia Union 1 – Highlights – March 18, 2017 (Credit: PPsoccer)
Orlando City SC vs Philadelphia Union, 18.03.2017
Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Major League Soccer
Joe Bendik | 7/10
Will Johnson | 7/10
José Aja | 7/10
Jonathan Spector | 8/10
Donny Toia | 7/10
Servando Carrasco | 7/10
Antonio Nocerino | 8/10
Matías Pérez García | 8/10
Giles Barnes | 8/10
Carlos Rivas | 8/10
Cyle Larin | 9/10