ORLANDO, FL – Orlando City SC (3-2-2, 11 points) returned home to face Nashville SC and defeated them 3-1 in front of a limited crowd (3. 003 in attendance). It was Orlando’s first game in Exploria Stadium in 179 days.
At the start of the match, Orlando announced that they had a player who came back with an inconclusive COVID-19 test and that player would not play tonight.
Orlando’s Darryl Dike’s brace along with a goal by a well timed header by Chris Mueller, the Lions handled Music City with little problem.
“Sometimes with the young players we need to take the responsibility, be patient and wait for the right moment.” Said Orlando Head Coach Oscar Pareja. “Daryl demonstrated perfectly what he is getting used to the competition at the professional level and I am very happy for him because he is scoring goals.”
Nashville opened the scoring in the 16th minute when Dave Romney put one in a header for Music City’s 3rd goal of the season.
The Orlando win comes on a night when all NBA Playoff games were cancelled as players refused to play to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake at the ands of Kenosha, WI Police.
The WNBA followed suit, as well as baseball games in Milwaukee, San Francisco, and Seattle. All of the other 5 MLS matches on the slate yesterday were postponed as well.
Orlando City later stated that they decided to continue play for the fans that were already in the stadium.
“First of all, we understand that these are difficult times and obviously it gave us the joy today to get three points, to win, to play again in front of some fans.” Said Orlando Head Coach Oscar Pareja. “It was hard for us to not have them all, but at the same time to see that we have this possibility to play in front of some and we respect that.”
“I want to be clear on this. We came out here to play a game and I have to say that we heard things before the game. When we went to the field to warm up, both teams were there.” Said Pareja. “It’s difficult to hear things, difficult to understand what’s going on. We were in the middle of the game and I hope that things can be resolved, but it was a tough day for everybody.”
The MLS issued a statement about the game postponements.
Nashville opened up the scoring in the 16th minute when Dave Romney headed in an early free kick from Hany Mukhta for the score.
Chris Mueller scored the equalizer in the 21st minute by being in the right place at the right time and using his wits. Mueller was in the box, near got goal line and had hit the ground after trying to make a play. oão Moutinho cutting past his defender before going back to his left foot to whip a ball across the box, finding the head of a lying Chris Mueller, how got on his knees, and stretched out toward goal for the perfect header into net.
Nani was the center of the Nashville defense for most of the match, but Orlando’s growth has certainly strengthened it’s use of other options.
In the 52nd minute, Mauricio Pereyra sent a pass across the face of goal to a running Daryl Dike. Dike hammered it past Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis for his second goal in as many matches.
Dike later put in another goal in the 71st minute when he put in a rebound off of a Junior Urso attempt into the goal.
Orlando will next face Atlanta United FC in Atlanta on August 29th.