ORLANDO, FL – Orlando City SC won it’s first cup championship of the MLS era with a 3-0 victory over Sacramento Republic FC in front of a sold out crowd at Exploria Stadium in Orlando on Wednesday night. The win gave Orlando the Lamar Hunt US Open Championship.
The Lions took home the troops in the 107th edition of the cup with three goals in the second half against the USL champions, taking the top spot out of a field of 103 teams. Orlando’s prize is $300,000 and and punches their ticket to the Club’s first-ever Concacaf Champions League.
Orlando was lifted by a brace by Fucando Torres, who was also Orlando’s leading goal scorer in the tournament. In tandem with local player Benji Michel, Torres put goals in at the 75th and 80th minute with assists by Michel, while Torres also provided the assist on Michel’s goal in the 90+6th minute.
Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja was thrilled with the result, and had the community in mind as his team calibrated the victory.
“Cheers after the Final. It makes it difficult to analyze the game.” Said Pareja “I think it is important to recognize that Orlando has won the first title here and we are proud of the community and the Club and the players. To have this opportunity to lift this trophy means a lot against a really tough rival. [It was] a very competitive match. In the first 50 and 60 minutes it looked like a really tough Final. After that, we could open the score as we gained more confidence against the block that they had in the back. We are proud. Congratulations to all involved in this trophy. We are very grateful for tonight. Just have to continue and just give a lot of joy to the community.”
The Lions brought in Benji Michel into the match in the 61st minute, substituting him in for Ercan Kara. Michel put more pressure on the Quails back line. That pressure gave the homegrown striker access to gaps in the coverage.
In the 75th minute, Beni’s pressures allowed him to connect with Iván Angulo, continuing the pressure before eventually forcing a giveaway by the visitors. Angulo found Michel yet again, who layed it off at the edge of the area to a running Facundo Torres. The Lions’ 22-year-old forward rifled off a left-footed shot first time, sending the ball into the top left corner for the lead.
In. the 80th minute, Michel’s pressure resulted in a foul inside of the Sacramento box, forcing a penalty kick for Orlando. Torres stepped up and calmly slotted the ball in the right side of the net, sending Republic goalkeeper Danny Vitiello the wrong way.
In stoppage time, Michel collecting a pass from Facundo Torres, splitting two Sacramento defenders with his run. Michel took a touch and slid the ball to the back post and into the back of the net to add the insurance for the side.
Sacramento had a strong path to the finals, beating out LA Galaxy, Sporting Kansas City, and the San Jose Earthquakes from the MLS squads to get to the finals.
The win was Orlando City’s fifth straight across all competitions, going back to an 1-0 defeat of the NY Red Bulls on August 13th.
The win saw the Lions finish undefeated at home throughout the Open Cup run, playing all matches from the confines of Exploria Stadium and become the first team in the modern era to host and win all six games of the Cup.
Fans are encouraged to celebrate with the team on Thursday, Sept. 8, with Orlando City set to take its celebrations to the steps of City Hall in downtown Orlando. The event is set to begin at 12 p.m. ET.