ORLANDO, FL – Orlando City SC lost to the New England revolution 3-1 in the semi-finals of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs as Exploria Stadium in Sunday.
New England followed a stunning win over the MLS Eastern Conference’s #1 seeded Philadelphia Union with a solid, tactical performance against the suprising Lions.
New England initiated the scoring after Tajon Bucannon was fouled inside of the area. The Revs were granted a PK, which was put in by Carles Gil in the 17th minute.
New England scored again in the 25th minute in a goal by Gostavo Bou.
Orlando managed to fight back after Chris Mueller battled for a ball near the goal against two Rev defenders. Mueller. The ball rolled out to Junior Urso who put the ball in, giving Orlando hope with a 2-1 score.
In the 61’st minute, Orlando forward Mauricio Parayra was issued a red card for a sliding tackle with his cleats up. As you can imagine, the stadium exploded, with Nani and later Urso Drawing Yellow cards.
Orlando now had to play a man down, with less that 30 minutes left.
There was hope in the 71’s minute, as Daryl Dike was fouled in the box and Orlando was given a penalty kick.
Nani squared up, and made an attempt to the right side, and Revs goalkeeper Matt Turner guessed right and blocked it.
Nani commented on the difference in the teams in the game.
“The difference was probably we made the mistakes so early.” said the team captain ” We conceded a goal early, but I think we were okay in the game. We were pressing up, we were creating our chances, but there was a decision that cost us the game I think when the referee didn’t give a foul on me and they scored the second goal. I think that was the key of the game, but like I said it’s always something, a small mistake that will cost us the game at the end”
Orlando was playing without their usual constants, the speed of Ruan, as well as the solid goalkeeping of Pedro Gallesse, both of whom were suspended for red cards in the last match.
Orlando definitely missed Gallese, as Brian Rowe was challenged in the 86th minute by a charging Bou, who easily put the ball through his legs for the the 3rd New England goal, sealing the win.
This was an emotional ending. Chris Mueller sat on the field and wept into a purple towel after the match.
The players slowly walked towards The Wall in Exploria stadium as the players slowly walked towards them, applauding the fans as they cheered back.
“I had a few minutes with the players after the game.” Said Orlando Coach Oscar Pareja “I told them that I’m proud of them, and I’m with them. They have me 100% behind them and its an honor for me to coach them.”
“I think that when we were sitting here in the same place at the beginning of the year, everybody was talking about qualifying for the playoffs being our main objective. The boys when we started the preseason, they understood the responsibility that we had on not just qualifying, but being protagonists of this league and I think they did that job. I’m very proud of this group, I’m very proud of the players in the good and the bad, but today people have seen us and people recognize this group. The people know that they are competitors, good competitors and we’re proud of that. We’re proud about the Orlando fans as well because we have a big objective just to bring trophies here and we will continue on looking for those things.”