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Orlando City SC (4-3-8, 20 points) earned a thrilling, last-second victory Saturday night to defeat Toronto FC (5-6-4, 19 points) by a final score of 3-2. Kevin Molino set up goals for Cyle Larin and Adrian Winter before Kaká sealed the victory with a penalty kick in the 10th minute of second-half stoppage time. The win extends Orlando City’s home-unbeaten streak to 15 games – the longest active streak in MLS.
“Obviously another late, late show. Not sure how my ticker’s taking it all, but I’m delighted for the players. It would’ve been a travesty if we had not won the game. Overall, I thought we deserved to win the game,” Lions Head Coach Adrian Heath said. “I thought some of the [players’] performances, some of the effort and commitment that some of them did was fantastic. We got a result that I thought we deserved. As people say, they even themselves out. We’ve certainly earned that one.”
Heath was able to field one of his strongest lineups in several weeks, as 2015 Orlando City Players’ Player of the Year Darwin Cerén made his first start since May 15. The match also saw the return of captain Kaká, who was injured while training with the Brazilian national team ahead of Copa América Centenario.
The captain made his presence felt immediately, setting up Molino’s pass to Larin for the opening goal in the fifth minute. Kaká (pictured below) was dominant in the first half, controlling the run of play as the focal point of the Lions’ attack. Kaká finished with five shots.
His most important shot, however, came in the 10th minute of stoppage time. With the Lions pressuring to reclaim their lead, the referee awarded Orlando City a penalty kick after supersub Júlio Baptista was dragged down in the box. Kaká fired the shot down the middle, off the crossbar and straight down into the goal, bouncing up into the top netting as it sent the 27,818 in attendance into a frenzy.
It was City’s third lead of the game and a dramatic ending to a riveting match. Adrian Winter (pictured above), who Heath said “ran a million miles” on the night, looked like he won it for the Lions in the 83rd minute when he headed Kevin Molino’s lofted cross into the back of the net after a great hustle play by Kevin Alston.
Alston ran down Kaká’s pass just inches from the end line as Toronto goalkeeper Alex Bono, who entered the match in the 70th minute after starting keeper Clint Irwin injured himself taking a goal kick, charged out to grab the bouncing ball. Bono couldn’t handle it and Molino sprinted to the loose ball before chipping it into Winter, who headed into the back of the net.
Toronto appeared to steal the Lions’ victory in the 90th minute when Sebastian Giovinco drove a low ball across the face of goal to Justin Morrow for the tap-in.
The Lions recaptured their lead and secured three points with their fifth stoppage-time goal of the season – the highest in MLS. Winter’s goal was the first Toronto conceded in the final 15 minutes this season.
Orlando City opened the scoring in the fifth minute when Kaká found Molino on the left flank. On his first touch, Molino delivered a hard pass to Larin (pictured above) on the far post. The Ontario native fired a shot into the roof of the net for his team-leading eighth goal of the season. It was the first of Molino’s two assists, which tied Kaká for the team lead with five.
The match saw two water breaks – one in each half – due to the intense heat and humidity. Water breaks are observed if the wet bulb globe temperature exceeds 89.6 degrees.
Orlando City returns to action on Monday, July 4, when it visits FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET. The Lions return to Camping World Stadium just four days later on Friday, July 8, to host the Houston Dynamo for an 8 p.m. ET kickoff.
Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Kevin Alston, David Mateos, Tommy Redding, Brek Shea, M Darwin Cerén, Cristian Higuita, Kevin Molino (Servando Carrasco 86’), Adrian Winter, F Cyle Larin (Júlio Baptista 79’), Kaká
Substitutes Not Used: GK Earl Edwards Jr., D Rafael Ramos, Luke Boden, M Antonio Nocerino, F Carlos Rivas
Toronto FC – GK Clint Irwin (Alex Bono 70’), D Nick Hagglund, Drew Moor, Josh Williams, Justin Morrow, M Benoit Cheyrou (Mo Babouli 86’), Will Johnson (Marky Delgado 46’), Jonathan Osorio, F Jordan Hamilton, Sebastian Giovinco, Tsubasa Endoh
Substitutes Not Used: D Eriq Zavaleta, Mark Bloom, M Jay Chapman
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com