Orlando falls flat in US Open Cup semi final

“We needed more quality” said Orlando City Head Coach James O’Connor after watching his side crash out of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at the semi-final stage at Exploria Stadium on Tuesday night.

O’Connor added : “I think, obviously, very disappointed to get beat. I think when you look at the first half, I just said to the guys, I think we didn’t – first half especially – I didn’t think we really played anywhere near to our capacity. I think the occasion seemed to get to us.”

The reality simply is that Atlanta United FC is, in many ways, the club that Orlando City wishes to be. Having joined Major League Soccer in 2017, the reigning MLS Cup champions, have simply blown away the opposition with a series of excellent moves, including signing top coaches and players, that have led to instant success.

Any thoughts that losing last season’s Head Coach Tata Martino would be detrimental to their 2019 season seem to be vanquished as they now sit in second place in the Eastern Conference and are now through to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final in which they will play either Portland or Minnesota at home.

Frank de Boer (pictured above) was appointed to replace Martino, who took the Mexican national team job, and while things haven’t been smooth sailing, his under strength team were still much better than Orland City who fielded many of their best players.

Missing top marksman Josef Martínez due to a knock sustained during a recent training session, goals from Eric Remedi and Emerson Hyndman in the 37th and 78th minutes respectively did the damage as Orlando could only manage two shots on target all evening. The Five Stripes got on the board as Remedi fired a shot from just outside the area that was pushed aside by City goalkeeper Adam Grinwis.  Julian Gressel got on the end of the rebound and crossed low for Remedi, following up, to turn in at the near post.

The killer blow was landed late in the second half with Remedi lofting a ball to the left side for Franco Escobar, who played it first-time to the middle of the area for Hyndman to slot home.

The Lions now return to league play when they travel to face Toronto FC on Saturday, August 10 at BMO Field.

Lineups/Substitutions:

Orlando City SC – GK Adam Grinwis; D João Moutinho (Alex De John 78’), Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Ruan; M Will Johnson, Sacha Kljestan (Chris Mueller 58’), Sebastián Méndez; F Nani ©, Dom Dwyer (Benji Michel 58’), Tesho Akindele

Substitutes Not Used: GK Brian Rowe; D Shane O’Neill; M Dillon Powers, Uri Rosell

Atlanta United FC – GK Brad Guzan; D Franco Escobar, Leandro González Pirez, Miles Robinson, Julian Gressel; M Emerson Hyndman, Eric Remedi, Darlington Nagbe; F Ezequiel Barco (Andrew Carleton 50’), Justin Meram (Florentin Pogba 66’), Gonzalo Martínez (Héctor Villalba 80’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Alec Kann; D Michael Parkhurst; M Jeff Larentowicz, Mo Adams;

Attendance: 18,461

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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