ORLANDO – After a long stretch of matches, Orlando City SC (7-10-5, 26 points) hit the home pitch against the New York Red Bulls (10-8-4, 34 points) on Saturday night and lost 1-0 in front of 22,412 fans.
The Red Bulls took advantage of an Orlando City turnover, with Amro Tarek jumping on a bad touch and finding Alejandro Romero Gamarra. Gamarra then played a ball in behind the City defense for Brian White, who hit a shot off goalkeeper Brian Rowe that deflected into the back of the net.
The Fans at Exploria Stadium tried their best to hold up the men in purple, and they put on a good fight, but in the end, fatigue settled in and it was too much. The Lions schedule of 6 games in three weeks was too much made it necessary to pull key players like Nani and Chris Mueller and substitute in players for more energy.
Given that, Orlando City did prove their worth with shooting 13 shots in the second half and literally beating up the woodwork, desperately trying to even the score. but to no result.
“Obviously very disappointed. I think we felt the first 30 minutes, 35 minutes, we were off.” Said Coach James O’Conner “We looked a little bit flat, it took us a while to get going. Probably the last 10 minutes before the second half, we started to feel like we were coming into it more. Hit the woodwork whatever it is, three times, had some chances so we’re looking to get anything out of the game, but it’s obviously very frustrating when you have a game, especially when you have the ball bouncing off the crossbar and off the post, but it didn’t happen for us tonight.”
As O’Connor said, the first half was all New York’s. From the opening tip, they were all over Orlando’s defensive end, keeping the Lions fighting them off. Orlando was able to occasionally break loose with a deep lob, but New York was able to fight them off.
Nani sent an inside-out shot just wide in the 36th minute and then a free kick wide in the 41st as Orlando continued to be wasteful with opportunities. New York took its 1-0 lead into the break.
Orlando’s fatigue showed in it’s unforced errors, including errant passes, lethargic throw ins, and general lack of crispness. Orlando’s Joao Moutino and Carlos Ascues tried their best to keep the push on, but the forward push wasn’t there.
Orlando’s offense picked up when Sasha Kljestan was substituted in along with Santiago Patino and Robino and the fight for the tie became fierce.
Orlando City head out on the road to face the New England Revolution on Saturday, July 27. Kickoff for that match is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium.