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Orlando City reach first-ever Open Cup final beating Red Bulls 5-1

Orlando City team celebration

Orlando City have made history reaching their first ever U.S. Open Cup final, beating the New York Red Bulls 5-1. Lewis Morgan opened the scoring with a rocket, Cesar Araujo equalized just before halftime. Mauricio Pereyra gave the hosts the lead before an avalanche of goals came, in a four-goal second half, giving the Red Bulls no chance. Orlando City will now host the final.

Orlando City crush Red Bulls 5-1, reach first-ever Open Cup final

Team News

Oscar Pareja makes minimal changes to the team that lost to the Philadelphia Union on the weekend. Antonio Carlos is back alongside Robin Jansson in defense. Junior Urso returns to the heart of midfield over Andres Perea, he partners Cesar Araujo. Benji Michel, Facundo Torres and captain Mauricio Pereyra are with Alexandre Pato in attack.

Gerhard Struber chooses his strongest XI after rotating and succeeding in the wild 4-3 win at Austin FC. Tom Edwards is suspended, so Dylan Nealis starts at right-back. Cristian Casseres Jr and Frankie Amaya return to midfield over Dru Yearwood and Daniel Edelman. The dangerous duo of Lewis Morgan and Luquinhas are back in the fold, with Omir Fernandez and Patryk Klimala leading the charge.

Orlando City lineup (4-4-1-1): Pedro Gallese; Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan; Benji Michel, Cesar Araujo, Junior Urso, Facundo Torres; (C) Mauricio Pereyra; Alexandre Pato

Lions subs: Adam Grinwis, Kyle Smith, Rodrigo Schlegel, Andres Perea, Ercan Kara, Tesho Akindele, Nicholas Gioacchini

Red Bulls lineup: Carlos Coronel; John Tolkin, (C) Aaron Long, Sean Nealis, Dylan Nealis; Cristian Casseres Jr, Frankie Amaya; Lewis Morgan, Omir Fernandez, Luquinhas; Patryk Klimala

New York subs: Ryan Meara, Andres Reyes, Caden Clark, Dru Yearwood, Cameron Harper, Daniel Edelman, Tom Barlow

First Half: Morgan, Araujo score near the end of the half

This game started out tight in the opening 15 minutes. Very few clear cut chances by either team. Luquinhas was close but scuffed his shot after the initial touch. Pato nearly opened the scoring but his effort from the edge of the box went wide of the near post. Patryk Klimala attempted a bicycle kick that hit the crossbar, Morgan headed the rebound towards Luquinhas, but his header was denied brilliantly by Gallese.

The Polish striker nearly curled in the opening goal, but the strike hit the foot of the far post and stayed out. His luck denied him once again. Luquinhas earned the first yellow card of the game for a hard foul. Pato missed a clear view at goal when he skied his effort off a good from from the right flank. Luquinhas muscled off his defender, tried to give Gallese the eyes but instead shot his effort into the side netting. Had he looked at Casseres darting behind him through the middle, it’d be a clear tap in to the net.

Just before the break, a breakthrough for both teams. First, Klimala showed his strength and hit a cross across the box that missed Fernandez but found Morgan who thumped a rocket onto the upper corner of the net for the opening goal. Just a minute later, Orlando would win a corner in which the ball would clip the post and find the path of Cesar Araujo to hit it low past the New York bodies for the equalizer before halftime.

This game was missed chances galore before the two goals. Big chances created, big chances missed and both teams have hit the woodwork. It’s got the look of a proper semifinal.

Second Half: Orlando City downs the Red Bulls with 4-goal second half

It didn’t take long for the action to pick right back up, as Orlando took the lead after nearly two minutes. A great cross field ball by Ruan found its way to Moutinho who slotted a low cross back towards Pereyra who shot first time into the net past a grounded Coronel. A real captain’s goal.

Ruan entered the book with a yellow card for a foul on Casseres Jr. Sean Nealis also was booked for a yellow after a high foul on Torres near the edge of the box. Tom Barlow and Caden Clark entered for Omir Fernandez and Klimala. The ensuing Orlando free kick was hit low but met the hands of Coronel. Set pieces have haunted the Red Bulls throughout the game and in recent weeks, it would doom them again. Orlando found a third goal, after the ball hung up in the air, Michel beat Clark and headed the ball towards Araujo who struck it sweetly to his second of the game.

Cameron Harper and Dru Yearwood entered the match for Casseres and Lewis Morgan. Kyle Smith replaces Ruan. Araujo ends up in the book with a yellow card. Then Orlando would add a fourth goal. After the official down the sideline raised his flag for what looked like an offside call, he pulled it down as Torres was through on goal alone. He scored and initially referee Victor Rivas waved players off to chat with the sideline official, but ultimately the goal stood.

The goals kept pouring on with Orlando adding a fifth. Benji Michel got on the act, beating his marker to a great finish inside the near post to make it 5-1.

The game ended without any time added on. Orlando City reaches its first-ever Open Cup final.

Three Takeaways from Orlando City vs New York Red Bulls

Orlando City makes history. One of the greatest nights in franchise history. They withstood conceding the opening goal and fought back to tie before the half. Pereyra was excellent, Facundo Torres was also brilliant and took his goal well. Oscar Pareja has the experience, winning this tournament with FC Dallas back in 2016. Can he do it again? Time will tell but they will be viewed as favorite, especially as hosts of the grand occasion.

Set pieces doom the Red Bulls. One of the worst nights in franchise history. A reminder that this was a one-goal game fifteen minutes after the restart. What happened? Well, nobody could win headers in their own area. Second balls on corner kicks led to multiple attempts and goals in both halves. That’s on management, that’s on Gerhard Struber, who also baffled supporters with his substitutions. Throwing the kitchen sink in the second half bit them in the you know where, in the worst way. There’s got to be serious questions asked, and serious answers delivered. It’s an embarrassing result to lose by that scoreline.

What is this VAR you speak of? Speaking of embarrassing, how in the world is there no video technology in a cup semifinal? There were some tight decisions that could’ve used some VAR interaction. And given how things carry on, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see outrage if there wasn’t VAR in the cup final! You simply can’t have major sporting events such as this one and the ones that follow, not have technology that can determine key events. Something needs to be done.

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