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Orlando City emerge 2-1 over NYCFC with a last-minute winner

On a rainy night from Exploria Stadium, Orlando emerge 2-1 over NYCFC thanks to a last-minute winner from Tesho Akindele
NYCFC vs. Orlando

Orlando, Fl. — On a stormy night at Exploria Stadium, a last-minute goal from the home side would see Orlando City emerge 2-1 over NYCFC pushing the Lions into sole possession of fifth place in the Eastern Conference while the Pigeons remain third.

Orlando grab the first-half lead just before the rainfall

Despite NYCFC kicking things off it would be Orlando City finding the first opportunity of the match as Júnior Urso received the ball off a throw-in as the clock struck for the 7th minute. Making a turn around a sliding Justin Haak, Urso would pick out Facundo Torres before executing a perfect run into the box and quickly receiving back the give-and-go now beyond NYCFC’s defensive line. 

Touching down the screaming pass from Torres, Urso would hit the ball one-time on the volley and place it way out of goalkeeper Sean Johnson’s reach and into the far top corner for the 1-0 advantage.

Despite the offside flag going up from the assistant referee on the play, a check with VAR would overrule the initial call to keep Orlando’s lead intact.

It’s at this point as the clock hit the 16th minute that the rain began to absolutely pour down at Exploria Park, making passing and dribbling an extreme challenge for both sides as the drenched pitch constantly held up the ball.

Despite the tough conditions play continued and it would be Orlando managing another opportunity with João Moutinho whipping a ball into the box in the 29th minute in hopes of finding anybody on the other end. It would fall for Benji Michel who, covered by Malte Amundsen, sent a pass back to Urso rushing towards the area. Striking the ball just outside NYCFC’s box, Urso would force an outstretched save from Johnson who was just able to parry it wide.

With the rain finally beginning to calm just before the half, both sides would develop one last opportunity starting with Moutinho playing give-and-go with Torres and receiving it back on the left wing. Sending it back to Torres, he’d pick out Ercan Kara in the box for a headed chance placed over the bar.

As NYCFC won the ball in midfield just before the halftime whistle, Talles Mango would desperately carry forward and into space as Orlando’s defense retreated. With Wilder Cartagena finally catching Magno from behind, the Brazillian would fire a shot from distance which flew just wide of the post sending the match into half.

Last-minute winner seals an Orlando victory; breaks NYCFC hearts

The second half would begin with a controversial call as Orlando’s Antônio Carlos caught the leg of NYCFC’s Nicolás Acevedo while the latter went in for a tackle that initially seemed harmless. However, the referee would quickly blow his whistle and issue a straight red card to Carlos for the play.

After some pleading from Orlando, the play would get a second look from the referee with Acevedo down and being attended to and the red card would be fairly rescinded to a yellow.

As play once again continued, it would be NYCFC getting the attack started as Thiago Andrade dribbled into space just outside Orlando’s box and squeezed the ball between two defenders to pick out Maxi Moralez. With Moralez making a solid run and getting onto the pass from Andrade, he’d pick out the far corner of Pedro Gallese’s goal leaving the keeper helpless and tying the score at 1-1 in the 53rd minute.

Orlando would come around again in the 80th minute as substitute Iván Angulo performed some dribble moves on the wing creating space just beyond Tayvon Gray to send in a cross. As the ball floated it would find an open Kyle Smith who took the chance on one-time but couldn’t find the back of the net to Orlando’s dismay.

With 5-minutes of added time placed on the clock, Orlando would need all of it as the Lions won a corner with the broadcast timer reading ‘95:26’. As Angulo lined up to take it, he’d send the ball near post into a mass of purple and sky blue jerseys but it would be Tesho Akindele rising to meet it.

Nodding it backward and toward the ground, Akindele’s header was too quick for Johnson and the Canadian striker would sneak it just past him to give Orlando the advantage now 2-1 as the final whistle rang out.




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