ORLANDO, FL – Orlando City SC gave up a stoppage time goal to Atlanta United FC for a 1-1 result last night in Exploria Stadium in downtown Orlando.
“Good match.” said Orlando head Coach Oscar Pareja. “In spite of the frustration of conceding that goal in the last two, three minutes of the game knowing how we worked for the three points during the whole game, it’s difficult. But at the same time, I think we need to have calmness and see where we are.”
Atlanta second half substitute Adam John managed to put in a solid header in the 92nd minute to send the Five Stripers home with at least a draw in a match that saw Orlando City miss several opportunities for insurance points while holding a 1-0 lead up to that point.
Orlando’s Benji Michel put in his second goal in as many games in first half stoppage time by taking a deflection off of a Daryl Dike shot and tapping it in in the 46th minute, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead going into the half.
Orlando had several chances, including more that one for Sebas Mendez who took an open shot and got his foot under the ball, sending the shot skyward, Dike having a great cross goal shot also go curving over the net in the second half, and even Nani taking a free kick and sending it into the post, just a bit wide of a sure goal.
It was curious that Nani did not start tonight’s match, but Pareja praised his striker in explaining the roster move.
“Nani had inflammation on his groin and has been working with limits. [He] wanted so bad to be part of the game and we thought he could give us at least 20-25 minutes and I always value that from the player. They want to be part of it in spite of the pain that is normal with this proximity in between the games.”
The stadium had welcomed energy with the 4, 242 fans in the house.
After a difficult initial stretch of games, Orlando now has a week before their next match, facing Inter Miami CF on Saturday September 12th at Exploria Stadium. This should give the boys some much needed rest to be in shape for the next challenge.