Orlando City (4-1-0) defeated the vaunted LA Galaxy(2-4–0) 2-1 in another strong defensive performance. The Lions took down the 5-time MLS champions with a stunning goal by Cyle Larin in stoppage time. Will Johnson scored his first goal and his second assist of the season.
“Really, really good, lot of positive things and then some negative stuff that we need continue to improve on. I think we’re still a team that’s still figuring out how to manage a match. We need to do better with that,” Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “I don’t know if I want to be too focused on results, saying that the winning is the identity, because it’s not. I wouldn’t say that the winning is part of the identity for me. The identity is the willingness to do whatever it takes.”
The Lion’s Carlos Rivas came close to scoring multiple times after taking shots more than once that bounced out from the post as well as shots that were just high and hitting the crossbar. This has been the situation with Rivas all season, and Orlando City fans are waiting for him to finally hit pay dirt acer so many close calls.
Rivas, who is known for his blistering shots, fired a shot in the 18th minute from nearly 30 yards out that rang off the far corner of the post and bounced across the the face of goal. The Designated Player created another great opportunity in the 58th minute when he beat two defenders, raced up the left wing and curled a ball in for Larin, prompting The Wall to rise in a chant of “Rivas! Rivas! Rivas!”
Orlando City started the scoring in the ninth minute when Scott Sutter lofted a pass from midfield that allowed Will Johnson to tap inside the far post for a 1-0 score. The Galaxy had some opportunities, but Orlando’s stingy and scrappy defense held them at bay, thanks to another stellar performance by Orlando goalie Joe Bendik.
LA finally scored off of a Romain Alessandrini shot off the post and in in the 83rd minute. This was just after Christian Higuita and Carlos Rivas were substituted out due to injury. The Lion’s defense seemed instantly more vulnerable and LA increased intensity for the score.
This seemed to wake up the Lions as their intensity rose and Lauren finally scored to take the game. Former University of Central Florida striker Hadji Barry earned a corner in the shadow of The Wall. Johnson stepped up and served it to Larin, who swung a volley into the roof of the net. The sold out crowd exploded. Lauren until this point had a very quiet game.
“This is a striker’s mentality. You see it so often that strikers can have – and when I say this I don’t mean that he did because I don’t know that I would agree necessarily that he struggled the whole game — but strikers can have a game where they don’t touch the ball and they have a nightmare for 89 minutes and then one play that they score their goal, they walk out the hero and that’s what they have to do. They have to continue to believe, continue to stay focused and continue to take their attempts.”
Orlando City heads to the Bronx to take on New York City FC on Sunday, April 23, at 1:30 p.m. ET. The match will be nationally televised on FS1. The Lions return to Orlando City Stadium on Saturday, April 29, when they host the Colorado Rapids in another nationally televised contest.