New York Red Bulls take victory in Orlando

Orlando City had the chance to make headway in the race to make the play offs for the first time in club history on Sunday evening as New York Red Bulls came to town in a vital six point game. Victory for the Lions would have seen them close the gap to within one point of the play off zone, while the visitors were seeking to give themselves some headroom over their play off rivals.

Having played in Portland on Thursday evening, Orlando changed their entire starting eleven but still started the game as if they were jet lagged. A poor first half saw them concede the only goal of the game in the 32nd minute as Carlos Ascues gave the ball away to former Lion, Amro Tarek about 35 yards from goal. The 27 year old Egyptian fed Kaku who curled a lovely ball into the penalty box behind Robin Jansson for Brian White to slot home.

Orlando needed to up the tempo at the start of the second half and five minutes in, Tesho Akindele bought a superb flying save from Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles as he unleashed a rasping drive from just outside the penalty area.

Ten minutes later Ascues almost atoned for his earlier header when his first time volley scrapped the crossbar after good work down the left flank by João Moutinho. Orlando then introduced Sacha Kljestan and Robinho in the 66th minute and immediately they started to look a sharper team as they played the ball around faster and with more accuracy.

Akindele (pictured above) then went close in the 70th minute as he again fired from outside the penalty box but was again denied by the cross bar only to see the ball hit Robles on the back and fall kindly for New York to clear for a corner.

You sensed it wasn’t to be Orlando’s night and more evidence arrived in the 77th minute when Kljestan hit the left hand post. Moutinho played a lovely sweeping cross field ball from the left flank to Akindele and he laid the ball into Kljestan’s path on the edge of the penalty box. The 33 year old American hit it first time only to see it rebound from the foot of the post straight back to him at an awkward height. He managed to get a second effort on goal but was denied by Robles knees. The ball bounced to Robinho who scuffed his right footed effort into the path of Santiago Patiño who couldn’t make good contact and Robles eagerly snatched the ball to thwart Orlando again.

A minute later, 35 year old Robles was in action as he pulled off a good save from Ruan who had worked his way into the right hand side of the penalty area. Orlando continued to threaten but after six minutes of added time referee Armando Villareal signaled the end of the game and the home side were left to rue their squandered opportunities.

“Obviously very disappointed. I think we felt the first 30 minutes, 35 minutes, we were off. We looked a little bit flat, it took us a while to get going. Probably the last 10 minutes before the second half, we started to feel like we were coming into it more.” said Orlando Head Coach James O’Connor. “Second half, I think we’ve absolutely bust, bust the game and completely dominated. Hit the woodwork whatever it is, three times, had some chances so we’re looking to get anything out of the game, but it’s obviously very frustrating when you have a game, especially when you have the ball bouncing off the crossbar and off the post, but it didn’t happen for us tonight.”

The Lions next game is away at New England Revolution on Saturday, July 27. Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Gillette Stadium. 


Orlando City SC – GK Brian Rowe; D João Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Ruan; M Will Johnson, Carlos Ascues (Sacha Kljestan 66’), Sebastián Méndez; F Nani © (Santiago Patiño 71’) , Tesho Akindele, Chris Mueller (Robinho 67’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Adam Grinwis; D Kamal Miller, Kyle Smith; M Uri Rosell

New York Red Bulls – GK Luis Robles ©; D Aaron Long, Amro Tarek, Tim Parker, Michael Murillo; M Cristian Cásseres Jr. (Marc Rzatkowski 54’), Sean Davis, Daniel Royer, Alejandro Romero Gamarra (Bradley Wright-Phillips 74’), Derrick Etienne (Omir Fernandez 63’); F Brian White

Substitutes Not Used: GK Ryan Meara; D Connor Lade; M Andreas Ivan; F Tom Barlow

Attendance : 22,408

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