On Saturday, we here at The Mane Land posted our "three keys to victory" for Orlando City to defeat the Portland Timbers. The Lions accomplished all three on their way to an impressive 2-0 win at Providence Park Sunday night.
The first key was to shut down Nigerian striker Fanendo Adi. Adi was leading the team so far in 2015 with three goals through the Timbers' first five matches. Last year, he scored nine goals in 18 appearances.
In the 11th minute, Adi missed a goal after a nice cross inside the box. He was later ruled offside on what would have been a great chance for the Timbers to tie the game at one. Adi missed another opportunity in the 65th minute and couldn't get his header on frame in the 68th minute. At the end of the match, Adi finished with six shots, but wasn't able to get any of those on goal. Overall, I would say that the first key to victory was a success.
With a 1-0 lead heading into half, Orlando City looked to be in the drivers' seat, as only one MLS team - Kansas City defeated Philadelphia - has come back from a halftime deficit this year. It was no time for Orlando to get comfortable though, as the Timbers had scored three of their six goals after the 75th minute, while the Lions had conceded three of their five goals after the 75th minute.
Our second key to success was to keep the passionate Timbers fans out of the game. Austin wrote on Saturday, "with any luck, the team will be able to keep the Timbers off the score sheet and in turn, keep the fans at bay." Considering the Timbers held an 18-14 shots and 4-3 shots on goal advantage, a 22-19 tackling lead, and had 54% of the possession, the crowd stayed pretty involved throughout. However, the early goal did take some life out of the crowd, and the normally-raucous Timbers Army was certainly quieter than usual thanks to the clean sheet by Ricketts.
The final prediction and key to success was that one of the forwards would need to step up, and our Austin David predicted it "may just be Larin's breakout match to give the team a chance." Boy, was he ever right!
Former UConn Huskies star Cyle Larin scored a goal -- his first in MLS -- in the 30th minute, putting Portland on the back foot. His replacement, Carlos Rivas, was able to draw a foul one minute after entering the game that led to the Lions' first Major League Soccer penalty kick. It served as the dagger for Portland, as Kaká was able to convert the PK.
Orlando City successfully completed all three of our keys to the game, allowing the Lions to bring home three valuable points from one of the toughest fortresses in MLS.