ORLANDO – The air got thick as Orlando City SC (9-11-6, 33 points) earned a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City (7-11-7, 28 points) on Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium.
The Lions’ Tesho Akindele continued to be for Orlando as he scored his ninth goal in the 21st minute. It was the Lions’ this straight match without a loss, after defeating FC Dallas and Almost taking down Toronto, but leaving with a tie.
Orlando had only two shots on target for the match, but had plenty of touches as they started Chris Mueller, Dom Dwyer, Akindele, and Nani in a strong push for a win.
They lost Kyle Smith in the first 10 after what looked like a hit by goal keeper Tim Melia, and the Lions were without the speed of Ruan, and João Moutinho both out with hamstring injuries, the fullback slot was thin, so Shane O’neill filled in for the match.
The Lions superior skill was evident in the match, but errant passes and sloppy play kept KC hopeful. It was not a dominant performance at all.
And then the humidity took it’s toll
“It wasn’t pretty.” Said Orlando Head Coach James O’Connor “I think for us we had some passages that you think, first half, not bad, couple of passages, nice goal, some good chances first half. Second half just became a complete game of transition. For us it became pure heart. I think you could see, both teams to be honest, the humidity played a huge factor in the game tonight. I think you could see both teams were really impacted by the humidity and that’s when you need the character and the heart to be able to push through.”
Like many of the matches this season, Orlando looked a little out of sync. Passages timing was off, arriving late for balls, wrong touch on passes.
Luckily, KC was worse that the Lions, so they could get away with it, but as in other matches they threatened over and over in the Orlando box, and the defense was on it’s heels.
Usually, if you give these guys too many chances, you pay for it, but the Florida humidity was Orlando’s friend on this one.
The air got thick in the second half, legs got heavy. Orlando players were walking, passes were not as crisp, and these guys train in this stuff.
Sporting KC gave a valiant effort, but couldn’t make it happen with 10 shots in the second half. They just couldn’t muster up the right kick.
Orlando moves on to Minnesota to face Minnesota United FC at Allianz Field on Saturday Aug 17th