Orlando City SC opened their home season of games with a solid preseason win over rival NYCFC 2-1 in the first night of the Orlando City Invitational tournament.
The massive overhauls of the Lion’s roster proved to be a good decision, at lest on the first hight back at Orlando City Stadium, as the boys in purple had goal contributions from Chris Mueller and Tasho Akindele to take the win with massive energy.
New York City took a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute off a long range shot from Maxi Moralez that just missed the fingertips of Orlando City Goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
The Lions answered just four minutes later with a goal from newcomer Tesho Akindele. A cross from Danilo Acosta found the head of Sacha Kljestan in the box, who flicked it behind to Akindele for the finish to even the match at 1-1.
Chris Mueller followed shortly after, giving the Lions a 2-1 advantage. Akindele added to his contributions on the night with an assist, sliding a ball down the left side for Mueller who smashed it home for the eventual game-winner.
“I’d say, if we’re looking at the amount of positives tonight, there’s a load that we can be really pleased about, but the danger is people get carried away,” O’Connor said. “It’s preseason. Again, the understanding was great, very encouraged by the performance, but again, it’s preseason.”
Orlando City was fierce in their debut, attacking balls, stingy on defense, surrounding opponents with multiple players that tried to push in.
The Lions also had multiple players on the front line in the attack, as opposed to last yer’s play where strikers often found themselves in the box with no help.
Orlando City’s match was played after the tournament’s opening match where Minnesota United took down the New England Revolution 1-0 off of a goal by Miguel Ibarra in the 66th minute.
The Tournament continues Wednesday February 20th with Minnesota United facing the NYCFC, and Orlando City taking on the Revolution.