Wasteful Orlando City rue missed chances in 2-1 defeat to Chicago Fire

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Orlando City Soccer were made to pay after missing numerous chances against Chicago Fire at Orlando City Stadium on a rainy Saturday night. The visitors took all three points as superbly executed strikes by Aleksandar Katai and Alan Gordon, both from distance, proved the difference between the sides.

Going into the game, the Lions fielded a weakened team as injuries and World Cup call ups took effect but 60.2% possession and 20 shots on goal with just 5 on target was not good enough for City to overcome a determined Chicago side who managed 10 shots on goal and 4 on target themselves.

The opening goal of the game came in the 12th minute from a free kick after Jorge Corrales, making his MLS debut, launched a long ball from deep inside the left channel of his own half looking to find 2018 MLS Superdraft forward Diego Campos charging down the middle towards goal. A combination of Tony Rocha and Mohammed El-Munir, who saw yellow for his troubles, brought down the 22 year old some 15 yards from the box and Katai stepped up to fire home the resulting free kick to evade Joe Bendik’s diving right hand.

Chicago might have made it two – nil shortly after as Kevin Ellis and Nemanja Nikolić got in each others way with just Bendik to beat. As it was, Orlando stormed to the other end of the field and Chris Mueller wasted a golden opportunity when he cut in to the left instead of shooting with his right foot.

The visitors then sat in deeper and invited the men in purple onto them. Sacha Kljestan headed over from an RJ Allen cross in the 25th minute and from the resulting pressure Orlando found an equalizer less than three minutes later. Chicago made a mess of clearing the ball and Mueller fed a delightful ball through to Cristian Higuita who slotted home the equalizer past Fire goalkeeper Patrick McLain.

A minute from half time, McLain came up big for his team as he made a point blank save from an Oriol Rosell header and four minutes after the half time break the 29 year old keeper pulled off a fine diving save to his right hand side from a rasping El-Munir drive from the edge of the penalty box. Two minutes after that McLain was again called into action with his best save of the evening as he somehow clawed Justin Meram’s right footed curling shot from the edge of the box, that was heading into the top right hand corner, away from the net.

Chicago always looked weak at the back as Orlando wasted more chances to take the game but the killer blow came in the 82nd minute as the Orlando defence stood off Gordon and the 36 year old Long Beach native drilled an explosive shot past Bendik into the top right hand corner of the net.

The game ignited in the 89th minute as Chicago’s Mo Adams and Lion’s Kljestan tussled on the edge of the penalty area in an off the ball incident that looked like six of one and half a dozen of the other. The outcome was a free kick to Chicago and a red card to Adams in somewhat controversial circumstances.

Full Time:

Orlando City 1 Chicago Fire 2

After the game Orlando City Soccer Head Coach Jason Kreis said: “There was only one team here tonight that tried to come out and play soccer and make things happen. The other team were extremely negative and they beat us on a special play by Alan Gordon. I couldn’t be more frustrated by that situation but proud of my guys performance, they gave everything they could.”

Lineups/Substitutions:

Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Mohamed El-Munir, Tony Rocha, Chris Schuler, RJ Allen, M Uri Rosell, Cristian Higuita (Richie Laryea 84’), Justin Meram, ⓒ Sacha Kljestan, Chris Mueller (Stéfano Pinho 76’), F Josué Colmán (PC 83’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Earl Edwards, Jr., Adam Grinwis, D Donny Toia, M Dillon Powers

Chicago Fire – GK Patrick McLain, D Jorge Corrales, Jonathan Campbell, Johan Kappelhof, Kevin Ellis, M Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mohammed Adams, Aleksandar Katai, Daniel Johnson (Brandt Bronico 74’), Diego Campos (Grant Lillard 84’), F Nemanja Nikolic (Alan Gordon 46’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Richard Sánchez, D Brandon Vincent, M Tony Tchani, Drew Connor

Attendance : 25,288

 

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