Facing a Texas-based team for the second time in as many games, Orlando City (7-19-4, 25 points) visited FC Dallas (16-6-9, 57 points) in a battle against the best of the west. The Lions battled hard on the road in the first half, but the home side showed its quality in the second, handing Orlando City a 2-0 loss on goals from Santiago Mosquera and Victor Ulloa.
With the loss, the Lions have gone four games without scoring a goal, and have just won win in the last 21 matches (1-17-3).
Orlando City was officially eliminated from playoff contention earlier in the day but came out strong against an FC Dallas team that sat on top of the Western Conference standings. The first half was played very evenly with both possession and chances being close on both sides.
FC Dallas had the first opportunity in the ninth minute when Dominique Badji turned and fired on goal, rattling the crossbar.
The Lions countered with a pair of chances in the 13th minute through a Mohamed El-Munir shot from the left of goal that hit the post.
Just a minute later, Will Johnson found himself with space in front of goal off of a corner kick, but Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez was up to the task, palming the shot away.
Defensive responsibility has been a problem for the Lions this season and nearly cost the team twice in the first half. In the 25th minute, Carlos Gruezo made a run behind the defense, forcing Joe Bendik to make a sliding save. Eight minutes later, it was Michael Barrios making the run and shooting from the right of goal, forcing another nice save from Bendik. Both opportunities ended with Orlando City defenders looking toward the touchline for an offside flag.
The second half was much more of what fans would’ve expected with FC Dallas dominating coming out of the break. While possession was shared equally during the first 45 minutes, the majority of the second half was spent in the visitors’ half of the field.
The hosts nearly broke through four minutes into the second half when a poor clearance by Carlos Ascues landed at the feet of Maxi Urruti at the top of the box. However, luckily for the Lions, the low volley went just wide of goal.
FC Dallas finally broke through in the 63rd minute when Barrios drove down the right flank and sent a low ball across the box. Mosquera, who had come on seven minutes earlier, received the ball and had the time to settle it, sending it past Bendik into the roof of the net.
The Hoops’ lead was doubled just six minutes later when a Yoshi Yotún foul gave FC Dallas a free kick just outside of the box. The curling free kick by Urruti found the diving head of Ulloa, directing it into the bottom corner of the goal.
The Lions had slightly more possession than Dallas in the first half but the hosts dominated most of the second half, ending the game with 52.5 percent of the ball. The Lions returned to the field after an hour-long lightning delay playing more aggressively while the hosts looked to close out an impressive second-half performance. Orlando City dominated possession in that final 10 minutes, but was unable to threaten Gonzalez in goal.
FC Dallas had a slight edge in shots, 12-10 (5-5 on target). Passing accuracy was fairly even, with Dallas 84% successful and Orlando hitting 83%. The ultimate difference was quality in front of goal.
The Lions were officially eliminated from playoff contention earlier in the day when the Montreal Impact beat the Columbus Crew 3-0. They currently sit six points behind the Chicago Fire for last place in the Eastern Conference with four games remaining in the season.
Orlando City will take the field again next Saturday when they travel to the northeast to take on the New England Revolution.