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Orlando City vs. New England, 2019 U.S. Open Cup: Five Takeaways

What did we learn from Orlando City’s 2-1 extra time win over New England?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Were you ready for over 120 minutes of U.S. Open Cup goodness? I wasn’t either, but I’ll take a 2-1 extra time win every time it happens. Orlando City gave the supporters who showed up after the rain everything they could have hoped for against the New England Revolution. Oh, and the Revs still haven’t won at Orlando City. What else did we learn?

The Grinch Who Saved Orlando

Adam Grinwis started his second U.S. Open Cup match in a row, and had to make a diving save in just the third minute of the match. Things then settled down for quite a while for the Grinch, until the 75th minute when he made a huge save with his left foot to keep Orlando even. In extra time, Grinwis came out big and strong to nearly the edge of the area to keep New England off the scoreboard. Then, in the 108th minute, a very focused Grinch cleared Benji Michel’s bad backwards pass. In the 124th minute, he made one more save to give Orlando City the win.

Higuita’s Hurt Hammy

Cristian Higuita worked his way into James O’Connor’s starting 11 after not playing much to start the season. When he did finally get in, it was obvious that something had clicked in regards to how O’Connor wants the midfield to function. For most of the first half, Higuita showed why he had earned the playing time with generally good passing and facilitating chances for Orlando City. In the 44th minute he tried to make a play on a ball in the box, and planted his left foot badly, resulting in what looked like a hamstring injury. He was eventually able to walk off the field under his own power, but he’s likely to miss some time. Most importantly, Orlando could have used his play in the second half of the match.

Powers Putting in the Time

I’m not sure if O’Connor told Dillon Powers he had to lose the headband to get some playing time, but it seems to have worked. Powers put in a good shift against Memphis 901, and an even better one against New England. He played well on defense, including making a big save in the 60th minute. He did well on the other side of the field, especially after Cristian Higuita went off injured. He was eventually subbed off in the second half of extra time, after limping off the field. That was the evidence of a hard played shift.

A Match of Missed Chances

Given how long the game was scoreless, you might think there wasn’t much action. You would be wrong. New England took 22 shots, with three on target, and Orlando City took 15 shots with eight on target. Those numbers don’t tell the story of the craziness that was this match. Both teams hit the post in the second half, and both of those shots would have been goals if two inches toward the middle. Then there were the timely saves by Dillon Powers and Ruan to help Adam Grinwis’ efforts on the night. The scoreline of the match could have been 4-3 in regular time, but then we wouldn’t have gotten all that extra soccer.

Extra Time Magic

It took until the 96th minute for either team to score, and fortunately it was Orlando City that did so. Benji Michel scored his first professional goal to give Orlando City the lead. He promptly did a very Dom Dwyer-like backflip in celebration. Tesho Akindele hit the post earlier when he should have scored, and instead scored the Lions’ second goal. As Tesho was falling down with the ball at his feet, and with Nani about to chide him for not passing, the ball clipped off a defender and dribbled into the net for Orlando’s game winner

That’s what I took away from the match, what did you see? Let me know in the comments. Go Lions!