ORLANDO – The Orlando City Lions fell to the Minnesota Loons last night 2-1 in front of a crowd of 24,038 at Orlando City Stadium. The Loons made a strong showing after a disappointing 2017 campaign as well as a week one loss. For Orlando, missing key parts of their firepower proved to show a depth weakness.
Coming into the match, Orlando was dealing with injuries to striker Dom Dwyer (quad strain), midfielders Josué Colmán (quad contusion) and Dillon Powers (ankle), and holding mid Uri Rosell (fitness) as well as dealing with midfielders Sacha Kljestan, Pierre Da Silva and Victor “PC” Giro serving suspensions. Orlando had limited resources.
The Loons were the first to get on the board, with Ethan Finlay scoring in the 12th minute assisted by former Lion Kevin Molino, stunning the Orlando faithful. The Orlando fans would soon feel some redemption.
In last week’s 1-1 draw against DC United, Orlando was on the losing end of two video reviews that benefitted DC. But this week, a Richie Laryea was tackled in what the video review revealed to be inside the box giving the Lions a penalty kick. Peruvian international Yoshimar Yotún scored his first goal of the season in the match, putting away the penalty attempt late in the 42nd minute.
Minnesota defended the Orlando passing scene well, taking away midfield passing lanes and making it near impossible to have clear shots on goal. The Lions took 19 shots and could only manage two shots on target, and that includes the penalty kick.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed to lose a game at home, only our second game at home.” Said Lions head coach Jason Kreis ” I think we need to take a look at ourselves and figure out what it is we need to improve upon this year and just keep doing that because we’ve got a brand new group of players together. It’s going to take some time and I think, all in all, there were lots of positive performances out there but in the end we just didn’t quite have the quality to score the goals.”
Minnesota went ahead in the 79th minute on Finlay’s second goal of the night.
Both teams were affected by in-game injuries, with last week’s hero Stefano Pinho exiting the match in the 28th minute after suffering a right ankle injury. Early in the second half, Former Lion Kevin Molino also went out for Minnesota.
The Lions visit Yankee Stadium for their first road match of the year on Saturday, March 17, against New York City FC. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. and will be nationally televised on Univision. City returns to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, March 31, when it hosts the New York Red Bulls at 1 p.m.