The Orlando City Lions grind out a 4-3 win over the New York Red Bulls today in front of a crowd of over 23,000 fans. Orlando’s first win of the2018 campaign took every ounce of grit and fight that the team had.
“Hard fought win. Really difficult to get that result today.” sad coach Jason Kreis. “Big, big credit to all the players that participated in that match and put their absolute best foot forward, because I think without 100 percent commitment we don’t walk out of here with all three points. Really pleased from an effort and commitment point of view, no doubt.”
Orlando was stunningly disjointed at the beginning of the match, looking lost at times as New York pressed the ball right away, eventually scoring in the seventh minute when Florian Valot headed in Alejandro Romero Gamarra’s delivery to the far post.
“I feel like there’s just been a lot of pent up emotion within our team.” said Kreis “It isn’t just within our team. I think that emotion and that pressure comes from without as well. We’ve been doing everything we can to try and control that emotion and to keep level heads inside the locker room. But you know, when you come and play in a stadium like this, with the atmosphere like this, it’s hard to keep yourselves controlled, I think emotionally controlled. And I think because of that you’re exactly right, we looked pretty darn disjointed and were really wide open and just doing some odd things.”
It took a series of well placed passes by Sasha Kljestan and Justin Meram to give Will Johnson an easy tap in goal to wake up the team and the crowd. It was Johnson’s 30th career MLS regular-season goal and seemed Orlando turned into a different team.
The play turned more fierce, with more attacking on the ball, and a lot more fight in the Lions squad.
Even though New York’s Valot regained New York’s lead in the 24th minute, just two minutes later, Dom Dwyer drove the near post to head Yoshimar Yotún’s corner delivery past goalkeeper Luis Robles. Then three minutes into the second half, Dwyer got on the end of Mohamed El-Munir’s throw-in and ripped it to the far post for City’s first lead of 2018.
New York matched the 3-3 lead in the 82nd minute, but Orlando came back Kljestan fed Sutter with plenty of space in front of him. Sutter took a touch and rifled a shot that deflected off Josué Colmán, past Robles and into the net. It was Colmán’s first MLS goal in his Orlando City Stadium debut.
The Lions return to action on Sunday, April 8, when they host the Portland Timbers at 4 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.