Orlando City through to US Open Cup semi finals

It took a penalty shoot out to separate Orlando City and New York City in their Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarter final tie at Exploria Stadium, Orlando on Wednesday night and at the end of the drama, it was the home side that squeaked through to the semi finals winning 5-4 on penalties.

The victory marks the first time in club history that Orlando has made it through to the semi-finals and as usual, the Lion’s did it the hard way.

Leading 1-0 through a Chris Mueller headed goal from a Nani cross in the 61st minute, Orlando looked like they had thrown it away with just 30 seconds left of the game. In the 6th minute of added time, Jesús Medina desperately pumped a ball into the Lions’ 18-yard box from midfield. Orlando failed to deal with it effectively and as the loose ball bounced in the area, forward Maxi Moralez was first on scene to stab the ball home for a late equalizer.

The goal meant an extra 30 minutes of an already tedious match that was low on quality and low on goal scoring opportunities as both sides cancelled each other out.

After a scoreless extra time period, a penalty shootout was needed and it was the Lions who prevailed 5-4 after six rounds. Goalkeeper Adam Grinwis made two saves in the shootout, including the game-winner when he guessed right and saved Maxime Chanot’s strike to the left side.

“Obviously exceptionally proud of the whole football Club. I think when you look at tonight, I think we’ve created a little bit of history. I think we won the biggest game in the Club’s history, I think, when you look at the fight, the mentality.” said Orlando Head Coach James O’Connor. “Granted the last minute we would expect not to concede a goal like that, but I thought the composure when it did go to penalties was excellent. I thought the mentality was very strong. Just immensely proud of the supporters as well. I think when you look at the way they were tonight, they kept pushing and driving and singing and chanting and then at the end even when the penalties is on the far end for the supporters, to just not accept it and come all the way around and get behind the goal, what a special memory for the football club. Just an incredible memory for all of us here tonight.”

Orlando Goalkeeper Adam Grinwis (pictured above) said: “I mean, as a goalkeeper, these are the kind of situations you dream of, right? Growing up, you always think about, you always play penalty shootouts with your friends, always want to be the guy that is the hero, and I think as a goalkeeper sometimes, you don’t want to be noticed. If I’m not noticed, that means the team had a good game, that means I didn’t have to do much, and that’s a good thing. But, in those moments, everybody wants to kind of have that situation and I was just excited to be a part of it. I just wanted to help the boys however I could because they fought for me all 120 minutes so if I was able to dig a couple out and help them out, it’s the least I could do.”

The Lions will face Atlanta United FC in the semi-final round on August 6 or 7. A draw to determine the semi-final hosts and the priority order for hosting the Final will take place on July 11 at 2 p.m. ET and can be seen live via U.S. Soccer’s Twitter page @opencup and at usopencup.com, the official tournament website.

Lineups/Substitutions:

Orlando City SC – GK Adam Grinwis; D Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Ruan; M Will Johnson, Sacha Kljestan (Dillon Powers 73’), Sebastián Méndez (Benji Michel (106’); F Nani © (Dom Dwyer 81’), Tesho Akindele, Chris Mueller (Uri Rosell 90+1’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Brian Rowe; D Alex de John; F Santiago Patiño

New York City FC – GK Brad Stuver; D Ben Sweat, Maxime Chanot, Sebastien Ibeagha; M Jesús Medina, Ebenezer Ofori (Anton Tinnerholm 80’), Alexander Ring, Juan Torres (Keaton Parks 64’); F Maxi Moralez (Justin Haak 110’), Héber (Valentín Castellanos 73’) , Ronald Matarrita

Substitutes Not Used: GK Luis Barraza; D Alexander Callens; M Daniel Bedoya

Attendance: 7,227

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

 

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