Orlando, Florida. Orlando City’s home streak without a loss (5-0-1) ended on Sunday when they lost to New York City FC 3-0 in front of an announced crowd of 25,527.
The Lions had defeated them twice so far this year, but after a difficult schedule, including 3 games in 8 days, the squad knew the this game would be far from a cakewalk.
“Grave, grave disappointment to lose our first game in front of our home fans,” Lions coach Jason Kreis said. “I thought the fans were excellent again tonight. The atmosphere in the crowd was terrific.”
This game makes 5 games without a win, their last win coming against the Colorado Rapids at home on April 29th. “It is a tough loss for us today, first lost in the new stadium.” said Kaka. “We never expect something like that but we knew one day it would come. It was today.”
“Five games without a win, it is starting to bother us.” he said “We have a week to prepare for the next game to put our heads on the right direction and be ready to win again.”
Orlando City started slow and sluggish. They had difficulty maintaining possession while New York spent a lot of time on the Orlando side of the pitch. in the 13th minute, A curling corner kick struck Kaka’s arm in the box, giving New York a penalty kick.
In the 14th minute, NYCFC’s David Villa fired the ball beyond goalkeeper Joe Bendik’s reach into the bottom right corner of the net, giving NYCFC a 1-0 lead.
“I think that took some air out of us” said Coach Kreis. “It’s one of those games where, I feel like, as stupid as this is to say, goals for me change games,” Kreis said. “It’s very cliché-ish, but I really felt like that was where we were at tonight.”
NYCFC scored it’s second goal as Orlando continued to play out of sorts. Defender Ethan White passed across the box to forward Rodney Wallace in the 35th minute. Bendik tried to disrupt the pass and ended up out of position as Wallace put away an easy close range shot, giving NYCFC a 2-0 lead.
The Lions were more aggressive in the closing minutes of the half, but they couldn’t put a shot on frame.
Coming out of halftime, Orlando City continued to be slightly off target on passes and NYCFC attacked.
Coach Kreis tried to switch things up and add energy in the 60th minute, bringing on Giles Barnes for Kaká and Matias Pérez Garcia for Antonio Nocerino.
In the 63rd minute, Ben Sweat took down Scott Sutter in the box, generating a penalty kick for Orlando. Cyle Larin took the shot, but it bounced off the right post and Orlando City remained scoreless.
Villa drew blood again by scoring again for New York in the 82nd minute, making what would be the final goal, taking the score to 3-0.
Carlos Rivas put in a hard-working shift in his ninth start of the season. The Colombian raced down long ball after long ball, hounded NYCFC defenders and curled some nice balls into the box. The Designated Player finished with four shots.
Carlos again worked really, really hard,” Kreis continued. “Tireless effort by Carlos. I thought he worked extremely hard to pressure defenders. All in all, it’s difficult to be pleased with somebody’s performance but I thought Carlos gave us everything that he could.”
“After every single win we talked about the improvements we need to make and so after the loss we stay the same” Kreis said. “We’re not going to go into a shell or believe we’re the worst team in the league or that we’re in some very, very bad spot. We still need to improve. We still need to work hard every week. And we need to do our best to prepare ourselves for next week’s game.”
Speaking of next game, Orlando faces former coach Adrian Heath and will visit 2017 expansion side Minnesota United FC on Saturday, May 27. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET at TCF Bank Stadium. The Lions return to Orlando City Stadium on Wednesday, May 31, when they host D.C. United. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.