It was a game to forget for Orlando City. The NASL’s Miami FC came into Orlando City Stadium and thrashed the home side, 3-1, marking the earliest that Orlando has dropped out of the U.S. Open Cup in its three-year MLS history. Miami will now move on to the round of 16, which is set to start on June 28.
“Let me start out by saying this: For me this is the most disappointing night I’ve had since I’ve been here with Orlando,” Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis said after the match. “I want to take full responsibility for this performance.”
In front of a midweek crowd of 5,838, Orlando was out-scored, out-shot, and out-dueled for 50-50 balls throughout the entire game and looked fairly undermatched in the attack. The Lions lacked any finishing touch in front of goal and constantly got beat by Miami on the counter.
“Jason [Kreis], being the man that he is, will probably want to take the blame,” Lions forward Giles Barnes said after the loss. “It’s our duty, we’re the people he put on the pitch, he trusted us with this club. It was our duty to go out and do him justice, and we didn’t. We didn't do the fans justice, we didn't do the club justice today."
Orlando came out with a different lineup than usual, putting Josh Saunders in goal and giving Pierre da Silva a run with the first team.
Things started out quickly, as within the first minute Miami was pushing the ball downfield and had a shot at goal. It showed that Miami came to play and Orlando struggled to match its intensity all night, and mostly failed to do so. The Lions had spells of possession in the first half, but they fell short in quality. Often there were inaccurate passes and lazy interceptions, which Miami was happy to collect.
It started to get hectic in the 28th minute, when Miami’s Stefano Pinho got behind the Orlando back line and went one-on-one with Saunders, but the keeper made the save. Just two minutes later, however, Pinho got the better of Orlando. A low cross from Michael Lahoud found its way in front of goal and the Brazilian striker got a foot on it, rolling it in.
The second goal came just six minutes later as Pinho again found himself in the box as Hunter Freeman crossed a ball to the back post for Pinho to head in, out-jumping Jonathan Spector and knocking the ball just past Saunders’ glove.
Orlando managed two just shots in the first half compared to Miami’s 11, and the Lions really didn’t look dangerous offensively. The second half looked a bit better for Orlando, but it still looked very lethargic and poor in the final third.
Pinho put the game away in the 55th minute after another back-post goal where he was completely unmarked, and the Miami team then proceeded to bunker down and defend and counter for most of the game.
“I don’t know what to say at this point,” Barnes said. “You can call it a cupset or whatever you want, but that’s gotta hurt us deep down. That’s gotta play on your mind for a couple of days.”
Kreis made use of his subs with Tommy Redding, Kaká, and Carlos Rivas coming on, but for most of the final 45 minutes the Miami defense held firm. Orlando did manage a goal on a corner kick from Giles Barnes in the 79th, but it was not enough to get back into the game.
After the game, Kreis was asked if it would be difficult to get his players ready mentally for its MLS game on Saturday against the Montreal Impact.
“One would hope it would not be difficult to motivate the players for Saturday,” he replied.
Orlando vs. Montreal is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, and we’ll see how the Lions respond.