ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 16, 2023) – Exploria Stadium witnessed an electrifying showdown on Saturday night as Orlando City SC triumphed over the Columbus Crew in a heart-pounding match that ended 4-3 in favor of the home team. The victory not only marked the club’s 100th MLS regular season win but also extended their unbeaten streak at home to an impressive 11 games, setting a new City record.
From the opening whistle, it was clear that both teams were eager to secure the three points. Columbus began the match with relentless pressure, capitalizing on an errant pass in the early moments to gain ground deep into Orlando territory. However, the Lions remained undaunted, playing fearless soccer throughout the contest.
The scoring opened in the 6th minute when Julian Gressel of the Columbus Crew tapped in a well-placed ball from Cucho Hernández, courtesy of a precise assist from Alexandru Matan. This early setback only fueled Orlando’s determination.
The Lions roared back in the 48th minute as Martín Ojeda found the back of the net, equalizing the score at 1-1. Felipe Martins initiated the play, linking up with Iván Angulo, whose precise pass allowed Ojeda to showcase his finishing skills.
However, the Crew regained the lead in the 56th minute, with Diego Rossi capitalizing on a perfectly placed ball from Yaw Yeboah, courtesy of an assist by Aidan Morris. Orlando was facing an uphill battle but refused to back down.
Columbus extended their lead in the 68th minute when Cucho Hernández, under the influence of Alexandru Matan and Diego Rossi, managed to find the back of the net. Yet, Orlando was far from finished.
In the 73rd minute, City pulled one back when Ramiro Enrique, in a fluid buildup, delivered a precise ball to Facundo Torres, who unleashed a first-time strike that found the side of the goal.
The leveler came in the 86th minute when Ramiro Enrique, taking advantage of a free kick, displayed composure in front of goal, sliding the ball past the diving Patrick Schulte. The match was now tied at 3-3.
In a nail-biting conclusion to the game, Orlando City secured the thrilling victory in the 97th minute. A free kick from Martín Ojeda found Facundo Torres, who calmly passed the ball into the middle of the box, where Ramiro Enrique hammered home the game-winner. The stadium erupted in celebration as the Lions clinched the dramatic victory.
Facundo Torres, who entered the match as a second-half substitute, played a pivotal role, scoring his team-leading 12th goal of the season and providing the game-winning assist, his fifth of the year. This performance also saw Torres tie former Lion Chris Mueller for the fifth-most regular season goals in Club history, with 21 to his name.
Martín Ojeda continued to shine, recording his sixth goal of the season and notching his ninth assist. His goal and assist in this match set a Club record with his fourth game in a single season featuring at least one goal and one assist.
Ramiro Enrique also made his mark with a brace, scoring his third and fourth goals of the season, in addition to earning his second assist of the year on Torres’ decisive strike.
Iván Angulo, Felipe Martins, and other key contributors played crucial roles, with Angulo providing his sixth assist of the season and Martins recording his first assist as a Lion on Ojeda’s finish.
With this victory, Orlando City notched their 100th regular season MLS win since joining the league in 2015. The win also extended their remarkable home unbeaten streak to 11 games, showcasing the club’s strength on their own turf.
This victory held extra significance as it marked the first time in regular season play that Orlando City had secured a win at home after trailing at halftime since October 9, 2022, against the Crew.
In a spectacular offensive display, Orlando City scored four goals in the second half, a feat not achieved since May 19, 2019, when they netted four second-half goals against FC Cincinnati in a memorable 5-1 victory.
The 97th-minute game-winning goal by Ramiro Enrique was the latest goal the Lions had scored since Daryl Dike’s game-winner in the 97th minute on October 2, 2021, against D.C. United.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja made two key changes to his starting lineup, with Felipe Martins and Martín Ojeda earning their spots and contributing significantly to the thrilling victory.
Orlando City SC’s 4-3 triumph over the Columbus Crew will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the most exhilarating matches in recent memory, and it solidified the Lions’ status as a force to be reckoned with in Major League Soccer.