Lions suffer first loss at home, fall to rival New York City FC


ORLANDO — David Villa and company went into Orlando City Stadium looking to ruin the rival Lions undefeated start at home, and they succeeded as New York City FC handed Orlando City SC their first loss in their new home by defeating the Lions 3-0 on Sunday in front of a sold out crowd of 25,527.

Orlando City’s defense was tested early and often in the first half, as New York City got multiple opportunities at goal in the opening two minutes of the match. The Lions would eventually give up a pair of first half goals, while being outshot 7-3 during the opening 45 minutes.

“I think from start to finish it was one of those games where everything that could go against us did,” said defender Jonathan Spector after the match. “I never want to point to it for shame, but we had key decisions go against us.”

Villa gave New York City an early 1-0 lead when Kaka was called for an unintentional handball in the box in the 14th minute, giving New York a penalty kick that Villa slotted into the bottom right corner of the net.

The 35-year-old striker would add another goal in the 83rd minute to all but secure New York City’s victory and put the Lions in a 3-0 deficit.

Rodney Wallace followed up Villa’s first goal with one of his own when he finished a low cross from Ethan White to give NYCFC a 2-0 lead in the 35th minute of play.

Orlando City had a chance to narrow the lead to one in the 64th minute when Scott Sutter earned a penalty kick for the Lions, but Cyle Larin’s shot hit the right post, keeping Orlando off the scoreboard.

“We had an opportunity to score our goal, which I think could have changed the game in our direction and we didn’t take it,” said Orlando City manager Jason Kreis. “All in all it wasn’t our night.”

The 3-0 loss is Orlando City’s first home defeat since opening up their new stadium on March 5 with a 1-0 victory over the very same New York City squad that gave them their first home loss on Sunday. The Lions are now 6-4-2 for the season with 20 points, but still hold the advantage over NYCFC in the all-time series 5-2-2.

“Tough loss for us today,” said Kaka about the 3-0 defeat. “First loss here at the new stadium, we never expected something like that but we knew that one day it would come and it was today.”

Orlando City will now begin to prepare for their next match against former Lions’ manager Adrian Heath and Minnesota United on Saturday, March 27 in Minneapolis. Kickoff is schedule for 8 p.m. EST

Additional Notes:

Lions Debut — Leo Pereira made his second consecutive start for Orlando City on Sunday night. The 21-year-old started at center back in place of Jose Aja.

Home Disappointment — The loss to NYCFC was the Lions’ first at Orlando City Stadium. And the first home loss since Oct. 2, 2016.

Obviously a grave, grave disappointment to loss our first game in front of our home fans,” said Kries following the game. “I thought the fans were excellent again tonight, the atmosphere in the crowd was terrific, the energy in the stadium was terrific, energy level and everything was good.”

Best 2 Out Of 3 — Despite the loss Orlando City still take the season series against New York City FC 2-1. The Lions also lead the all-time series 5-2-2.

May Slump — Orlando City haven’t won a game yet in the month of May. The Lions have managed two draws so far this month but are being outscored 12-4 and have gone 0-2-2 over the course of five games. Their last win came on April 29, against Colorado.

Photo Courtesy of Orlando City Soccer


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