ORLANDO October 21, 2018 – Orlando City SC (8-21-4, 28 points) came through for the home crowd with a win in stoppage time to beat Columbus Crew SC (13-11-9, 48 points) 2-1. Sahsa Kljestian got the win with a penalty kick in stoppage time to send the 23,642 (announced) Purple Palace fans into a frenzy. Yoshimar Yotún provided the initial score for the Lions in the 57th minute.
“Obviously delighted to get the win. I think it was a great performance today to try to win something for the players and especially for the supporters. It was very important that we gave a good performance and got three points. I’m pleased that we were able to do that,” Lions head coach James O’Connor said.
Columbus opened the scoring in the 54th minute thanks to Federico Higuaín. He sent a free kick from outside the penalty area into the back of the net to put Orlando City down 1-0.
Not too long later, Will Johnson attempted to head a band in the penalty box and it Crew centerback Gastón Sauro hit the ball with his hand, giving the Lions a penalty kick.
Yoshimar Yotún converted it to tie the game 1-1.
It looked as though the match would end level until the Lions drew their second penalty kick of the afternoon when Chris Mueller, but was tripped up by Wil Trapp.
It was just the second win under James O’Connor and the club’s second win in the last 24 matchesThe lions had not won a match since taking down Toronto FC on July 14.
The game got a bit chippy in the late stages of the first half, starting with a Mensah yellow card for an elbow to Dwyer’s face, which cut the Orlando striker open. The play probably should have gone to review but it didn’t appear and video review took place. A few minutes later, after Dwyer was fouled again, he got a yellow of his own for throwing a shoulder into Mensah as he ran past the Crew defender.
The Lions came out in the second half with vigor. The Lions more than doubled their shots on goal, and fought desperately to get the winning goal.
The Lions and Crew finished just about even on possession for the game (Columbus with a slight edge at 50.2% to 49.8%) and Orlando City led in shots (16-8), shots on goal (7-4), and passing accuracy (85.5%-83.1%).
Both O’Connor and Kljestan said after the match that the Lions didn’t make any real second-half adjustments, they just played better.
“I think when you look at the second half we were getting into some areas that were causing them some problems,” O’Connor said.
“It was a nice feeling for us to give back to the fans,” Kljestan said. A lot of the fans stuck by us through the whole season. Let’s be honest, it was a pretty miserable year. So, for them to come out, be loud again today, be very supportive and behind the team and for us to win, it just felt good for us to give them back something.”
Orlando City’s final game is at the New York Bulls on October 28th.