Things looked bad for Orlando City when Nani was sent off in the second half and Columbus Crew The match tied moments later. But the Lions showed resilience, and Benji Michel scored a late goal in the 2–1 victory at Xploria. Orlando (11-3-8, 41 points) snatched a playoff game at home with a win and could not finish fourth in the Eastern Conference. It was the Lions’ fourth successive victory over the crew (11-6-5, 38 points), who have yet to win a road match in 2020.
Chris Muller opened the scoring however Harrison Fall Tied immediately after Nani was sent off when Rami Tushan umpire referee that he had wrongly given the captain a yellow card only for a foul that didn’t even seem like a big mistake. However, the Lions managed to score a second goal after that and prevented the team from taking a good look at the goal.
It was the first time Orlando City He fell a man and then went to score a goal to win the match.
“Tonight it is an honor for me to coach these men and I give credit to them,” coach Oscar Barega said after the match. “It was their heart, the three points against a very good opponent. We got a place in the qualifiers and the match at home, which is another goal that was achieved.”
Barega’s squad included Pedro Gallese in the net behind Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos and Rowan. Andres Perea and Junior Urso played midfield with Mauricio Pereira in the available pockets. Nani and Chris Muller bracketed Tisho Akendel in attack. Daryl Dyke had spent the night on vacation due to a non-COVID-related illness.
Orlando City was dominant in the first half against the guests, but repeatedly missed the goal, made the wrong final decision, or saw a shot by Eloy Rom. The Lions held the ball in half the crew for most of the first 45 minutes and created several good chances to score but only managed to take advantage of one of them.
Jonathan MensahA weak pass for Orlando led to a golden opportunity in the tenth minute. His passes were passed by Muller, who spotted Akendel breaking in the left flank. Tesho gave a soft pass, which allowed the defense to enter from behind and divert it away.
Moments later there were shouts of demanding the touch of a hand Pedro Santos The ball appeared to hit the Columbus winger on the arm but nothing was called up and it appeared there was no video review at the next pause of play.
Lions were supposed to take a lead in the 14th minute when Orso was left wide open at the penalty spot. He took the pass, turned towards the goal and shot wide without any pressure whatsoever.
Orlando continued to shoot the defenders, both high and off the net, good points for the next several minutes. But the Lions finally broke through in the 26th minute. Pereira got in the way of Harrison Affole’s pass and hit Muller, who hit his 10th goal to open the scoring. Pereira captured the top of the team with his seventh assists.
Smith nearly scored on successive shots in the 30th minute, but Roomm was robbed by a blind man with two fantastic saves to keep the match at 1-0.
Lucas Zillarayan headed a shot on Galese in the 40th minute after the first wave of constant pressure from the crew. It was the last good look for both sides in the opening spell and the Lions maintained their slight edge at break.
Orlando leads in shots (5-10), shots on goal (3-2), corners (6-0), passing accuracy (87% -80%), and possession (57% -43%). In the pre-goal of Mueller, the lions had more than 60% of the ball, before Columbus had the ball late.
Soon after the restart, the game changed dramatically. Nani went to Earth while apparently winning the ball, but grabbed one of the crew players afterward. Tushan gave him a yellow card and Columbus gave him a free kick in a dangerous area. It was a bit surprising to even see him go to the screen but he did, and it was even more surprising when he showed Nani in straight red. Orlando dropped to 10 men in the 52nd minute.
“We have reviewed it. Barija said about the play nothing happened. “We all make mistakes and assume this is part of the game. The game gives us the possibility to be fair, and we have to be fair. It wasn’t a red card.”
Columbus leveled four minutes after Nani was knocked off the field. The ball veers off Smith and heads into the zone. And the result fell on Pedro Santos, who was discharged to Afol to hit the net against Galese, and equalized 1-1 in the 56th minute. The momentum has changed and it appears that the crew will continue to collect the three points.
Orlando City played with great determination after conceding and preventing the team from having a good look at the goal, even though they were on the ball a lot. The Lions looked for opportunities to attack the counter through Michel, who came in in the 70th minute for Akindele, who worked tirelessly all night in the press and also with his play paused and jogging in time.
Michel won a free kick with his first touch in the match and the Lions again thought the crew had touched the ball in the penalty area, as the ball seemed to hit Abubakar Keita’s arm. Tushan revised the play this time but judged that there was no wrongdoing with a handball in the area.
Pereira raised a long ball to Michel at goal 84 to start the winning streak. With his back to goal, Michelle headed the ball up and behind him, then turned around in Keita and got the ball first, shot it down and scored his fifth goal of the season between Rom’s legs, and restored the Orlando City lead.
“It means a lot, to be able to achieve this milestone in front of my friends, family and the city in which I grew up,” said Michelle, when asked what it means for him as a local player to give his team ever home a playoff with goal. “It’s just a feeling that you can’t describe, it’s just a lot of feelings, getting into it.”
Pereira scored the assist for the eighth time this season on the play. He said after the match that he knew he was going out soon, and was tired, but he wanted to try again to get Michelle out.
And Pereira said, “I say, well, maybe this will be my last ball,” which is why I tried to shoot over the defender. ”Then Benji did the rest of course. He was in control, he’s fast, he made the difference, and then he scored. It’s wonderful for him and us. “
City did a good job from that point onwards to keep the crew on the edge of the area, and Columbus settled on throwing balls into the area, with the Lions having five defenders waiting each time. After an endless eight minutes of injury time, Tushan blew the final whistle and Orlando clinched their third straight win.
For the match, the Lions overtook the crew (13-11), with both teams having four on goal. With the extra man for most of the second half, Columbus was able to seize the advantage of possession (50.7% -49.3%), but Orlando was the team with the most accurate passing (85% -83%).
Barega said of his team’s play in 2020, “I think they did a great job overcoming many obstacles. Since we got here, what I’ve seen is just this side of the players. They know challenges will come and they know we weren’t at the start of the season the team.” Everybody was expecting big things, and I think they understood that and embraced that barrier and overcame it [it] Together as a group. “
Orlando City’s four consecutive crew wins mark the first time in club history that the Lions have defeated an opponent four times in a row.
“Today was a heavy day for us. It was tough, and I think we have shown again that we can keep thinking about the big things for Orlando City,” Barega said.
Orlando City concludes the regular season on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 pm when it hosts the Lions Nashville SC. Nani will miss that match unless the red card is canceled, and Pereira will miss the match due to the accumulation of the yellow card.