They call it “The house that Ruth Built”, Yankee Stadium is a cathedral for baseball, but there were soccer ball flying around on Friday night as the Orlando City Soccer Club took down the New York City Football Club 1-0. Cyle Larin continued his strong attack with an early goal in the seventh minute. The Lions were on the attack early. Orlando’s pressure on NYC’s backline finally resulted in a goal after Rafael Ramos delivered a beautiful cross into the box. NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders managed to get a hand on it, only to see it headed into the goal by a waiting Larin, giving him his fourth goal in Yankee Stadium.
But from the open, both teams were playing a physical game. New York were relentless in their attack, with the first real chance coming in the eighth minute when Mix Diskerud fired a howler of shot saved by Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik. Bendik had a career night with six saves.
New York pushed forward in search of the equalizer before the end of the half but the Lions’ showed defensive discipline on outstanding play from Tommy Redding, Brek Shea, Seb Hines and Ramos. The back line flustered the New York attackers, effectively employing the offsides trap and holding striker David Villa to only one shot on the night.
Despite the constant offensive onslaught by NYCFC, Orlando maintained its composure and, following four minutes of stoppage time, were able to savor victory for the first time at Yankee Stadium and the first time this season.
“I thought our midfield was a lot more combative than they have been in the last couple weeks and I thought we defended the box really well,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “Our two center backs [Redding and Hines], I thought were terrific in defending the goal, Tommy Redding especially. A 19-year-old boy, he had to hang around with David Villa and his movement. I was pleased with some aspects but, I said to the players, we are better than that and we have to be better than that. We will get better.”
Orlando is off for two weeks and next plays the Portland Timbers on Sunday April 3 in the Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL.