Orlando City hosted the Seattle Sounders in Exploria Stadium for a mid-week bout with playoff implications for both clubs. The normal Central Florida stormy weather delayed the start of the match nearly two hours, but the supporters stayed to cheer on the Lions to a 3-2 victory over the Sounders. What can we take away from Orlando City’s come-from-behind victory?
Set Piece Differences
Seattle gave Orlando City trouble on a pair of set pieces in the first half. The Lions committed fouls not far out of the box on both. The first one was very close to being a goal, but Raúl Ruidíaz sent it wide. However, on the second one in the 26th minute, Albert Rusnák put the ball into the upper left corner past the outstretched hand of Pedro Gallese. This gave the visitors the early lead despite Orlando City having the better of the possession to that point.
Unfortunately, Orlando City was unable to convert its own set pieces. Some fizzled out on their own, and others were saved by Stefan Frei, but in the end none of them ended up in the back of the net. Typically, that is something that can haunt you against a team like Seattle.
Missed PK, Missed Opportunity
Nicholas Gioacchini worked his way into the box and was able to earn a penalty as he was fouled by Jimmy Medranda while trying to find space. Mauricio Pereyra stepped up to take the penalty kick in the 32nd minute, and frankly it didn’t go well. Pereyra took a shot that was easily saved by Frei. João Moutinho tried to get the rebound, but it was deflected out for a corner kick, and then for another corner kick, but Orlando City wasn’t able to get an equalizer.
Facundo Torres came on for Gioacchini to start the second half, and it wasn’t a minute too soon. Torres was on less than 10 minutes before he drew the Lions back within a goal in the 53rd minute. His goal came one minute after Ruidíaz put the Sounders up by two. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t feeling too good about Orlando City’s chances prior to Torres’ goal, but it definitely put a spark into the step of the Lions. Torres now has six goals, and nine assists on the season, with goal contributions in four straight matches.
Unbelievably, Orlando City earned a second penalty in the second half. Jordan Morris tried to punch the ball out of the box, which only keepers are allowed to do, and thus he committed the penalty. Fortunately, this time second-half sub Ercan Kara stepped up to take the penalty kick. He took it exactly like one should. Pick a lower corner and put some pace on it. Kara chose the bottom right corner and put it past Frei’s outstretched glove. Suddenly, the Lions were even with the momentum on their side.
The Accountant Makes it Count
Once the score was even, both clubs were pushing for a winning goal. Both clubs are fighting for playoff spots, and it played out on the pitch. Fortunately, it was the Lions that finally broke through. I was worried about Orlando City’s ability to score a last-minute goal since Tesho Akindele started the match and was subbed off in the 64th minute. However, I forgot that another much maligned Lion had subbed on in the 76th minute. Kyle Smith came on for Pereyra, shifting Benji Michel from right wingback to the attacking midfield, and it turned out to be just what Pareja ordered. In the 91st, the Accountant put in the winning goal from the right side. It was originally thought to be an offside on Kara, but upon review, the ball bounced off a Seattle defender. It was determined to be Smith’s goal rather than an own goal since it was a shot that would have been on target if not for the deflection. All I know is it was the game winner.
That is what I saw during the match. What did you see? Let me know in the comments section below.