ORLANDO, FL – Orlando City SC returned home to Exploria Stadium to face FC Cincinnati on Saturday night in front of 16,512 fans who braved the dropping temperatures of a cold front settling in over CENTRAL FLORIDA.
The win breaks a 14-game losing streak for Cincinnati going back to the 2021 season.
Orlando, coming off of a 0-0 draw against the Chicago Fire last week in Chicago, remain undefeated and had not conceded a goal in its first two contests of the 2022 season. The team took the loss hard. Ercan Kara stared for the Lions for the firs time, after coming off of the bench for Orlandos first two matches.
“It’s difficult accepting that we didn’t get a result tonight.” Said Orlando Head Coach Oscar Pareja. “Obviously you can’t hide that feeling, especially after the effort that the boys put in during the game. The boys tried from every single angle in the first half and the second half and we were not effective putting the ball into the back of the net. This is a game where you get points when you score goals, but the performance was good.”
That quickly changed when Brandon Values took a pass that slipped in from Luciano Acosta and kicked it past Pedro Gallese for the games opening score in the 13th minute.
The Score gave the Orange and Blue confidence as they looked for their first win of the season, but it steeled the focus of the Lions.
Orlando managed to equalize after Facundo Torres Lifted a ball from the back line right in front of goal, and Junior Urso headed the ball in in the 42nd minute to tie the game at 1-1.
Orlando dominated the first half stats, shooting eight shots goal, with five on target. They dominated possession 65% to 34%, and won 61% of their 1 on 1 duels.
In the second half, Orlando continued their push, but the Orange and Black dropped back and got some runs on the Orlando defensive end.
In the 53rd minute, it paid off for Cincy. Brandon Vazquez took a cross from Dominique Badji and sent a header into the back of the net for the winning goal.
Orlando definitely had their chances, but only had one of their 18 shots on goal on target in the second half. They showed a strong skill with the ball, winning 56% of the duels against Cincy, and continued to dominate possession (69%) and passing accuracy (84% versus 63% for Cincy).
Gallese outside of the 2 goals, had a strong night with 5 blocks and 1 save, continuing to provide a strong presence in goal for Orlando.
The game became contentions in the second half with the Lions pretty much having their way, taking the ball on challenges, and finding gaps, except when it came to scoring. I8 shots on goal and only one score. there were so may chances, but only only got in once.
It could have been worse. Late in the second half, Vazquez caught Gallese off of his line, got the ball behind him and, facing an open net, kicked the ball just wide to the left site, missing a Patrick for the night.
Things got contentious later in the match, with both Orlando and Cincy drawing 7 yellow cards during play. thankfully, no one drew more than one, resulting in a red.
Orlando travels out