It wasn't pretty -- it was actually very ugly -- but Orlando City got the job done on Wednesday night, defeating the Charleston Battery, 8-7, on penalty kicks after a 4-4 road draw. The Lions fell behind, leveled, fell behind again, leveled again, scored two more goals to take a 4-2 lead, then gave up two more goals to eventually send the game into PKs.
Adrian Heath made it very clear coming into the match that Orlando City would be taking the U.S. Open Cup very seriously this season, knowing that just five wins will put them into the 2016/2017 CONCACAF Champions League. However, the starting lineup did not reflect those comments, as Heath went with a very reserve-heavy lineup for the match, dressing just 16 players for the trip, while leaving guys like Kaká and Brek Shea back in Orlando.
It was close, but Heath got away with this one, and now Orlando City will move on in the Open Cup to play in the fifth round later this month.
Here our are player grades and Man of the Match. Be sure to vote for your MotM in our poll below!
G, Earl Edwards Jr., 8.5 (MotM) -- The rookie goalkeeper made a handful of big saves in the match, and made three even bigger saves in the penalty shootout that helped Orlando City seal the deal. The Lions have really liked when they've seen from this kid this season, and he stepped up on Wednesday night.
D, Luke Boden, 6.5 -- Boden played a good game at left back for the Lions, going the full 120 minutes. He even converted his PK in the shootout, which is a plus. Probably gonna get some much-needed rest on Saturday after that performance.
D, Conor Donovan, 8 -- Donovan might have been my Man of the Match if it wasn't for Edwards Jr. He joined the team in Charleston just yesterday, after coming back from the U-20 World Cup in New Zealand, played 103 minutes, defended really well, and even took quite a beating. He put it all on the line.
D, Seb Hines, 6.5 -- Played well in the air -- nearly slotted home a header in the first half -- and defended well throughout the game. 120 minutes of solid defending in that heat doesn't go unnoticed.
D, Tyler Turner, 6 -- Turner made his first start in a long time and showed some rust, but still played well. His excellent service into the box set up Lewis Neal's second-half goal that put Orlando City on the board. He would actually leave the game minutes later after somehow suffering an injury on the same play.
M, Amobi Okugo, 3.5 -- Yikes...Amobi didn't play well tonight, and other than mentioning his handball in the box that led to the game-tying PK late in extra-time, I'll just leave it at that.
M, Harrison Heath, 6.6 -- Not a bad night for Little H! I'm guessing it wasn't enough to impress his father -- you can always do better, son! -- but it was still a good outing for the rookie midfielder.
M, Danny Mwanga, 4 -- "We're taking this seriously" You left Danny Mwanga on the field for all 120 minutes, Coach. Outside of his game-winning PK, Mwanga was hardly a factor for the Lions throughout the entire match. Probably the best thing he did all night was set up Pedro Ribeiro in the box and the Brazilian turned that pass into a penalty kick.
M, Lewis Neal, 6.5 -- I told you this guy was important! Wearing the captain's armband for the night, Neal scored the Lions' opening goal early in the second half. Nothing else to get excited about with him, but just a quietly decent night in the middle of the attacking midfield.
M, Eric Avila, 6 -- Avila was quiet. He was kinda boring at times. And he wasn't awful enough to complain about. I'll give him the average game score.
F, Carlos Rivas, 7 -- From the open run of play, there was nothing really to compliment about Rivas' performance. However, we found out that he is a really good penalty kick taker, making all three of his attempts in regulation for the hat trick, but he missed his only kick in the shootout. Other than that, a lot of errant shots at the target.
F, Pedro Ribeiro (59'), 5.5 -- Not one of Ribeiro's most dazzling games. He played realllllllly slow in this one. There was more than one occasion when he held onto the ball way too long and by the time he let go of the through-pass to Rivas, the young Colombian was five yards offside.
D, Rafael Ramos (65'), 7 -- Ramos brought some much-needed life to Orlando City's attack about midway through the second half, bombing up and down the right side of the field. His brilliant run into the box drew the first of the three regulation penalties. He did more in his short time than most of his teammates did throughout the entire match, but what else can you expect from the young Portuguese defender?
D, Sean St. Ledger (103'), 6 -- St. Ledger brought some fresh legs to the defense when they were really needed. A couple of clearances, but nothing major in his short time on the field. He did convert his PK, in case you were wondering.