Heading into Sunday’s match, Orlando City was looking to find some footing away from home and instead, they found themselves mired in VAR controversy and late-game drama once again.
A stoppage-time hat trick from Luciano Acosta gifted DC United a 3-2 victory against a 10-man Orlando side Sunday night at Audi Field.
Orlando (7-16-2, 23 points) found themselves in a hole just as the first half ended after Acosta was able to score his first goal of the game, beating the Lions backline and goalkeeper Joe Bendik for just his second goal of the season.
The Lions battled back in the 50th minute, when midfielder Uri Rosell found himself in the penalty area off a chip pass from Chris Mueller. The Spaniard fired in a cross that took a deflection off DC goalkeeper David Ousted and went in, tying the game at one.
Just two minutes after the goal was scored, controversy struck when Orlando’s Cristian Higuita was shown a straight red card after video review. On the replay, Higuita looked to have hit DC midfielder Yamil Asad in the face with an elbow, prompting the head official Jose Carlos Rivero to review the play and eventually send Higuita off.
This was already the second VAR used in the game after an early chance from DC was pulled back for offside.
DC proceeded to retake the lead 14 minutes later after Acosta scored his second through Bendik’s legs. Originally the goal was waved off for offside, but VAR was used for the third time in the match and the call was reversed, giving DC their second goal.
Once again, Orlando managed to tie up the game just six minutes later. A ball from Rosell found Dom Dwyer off a curling run into the area. Dwyer found himself one-on-one with Ousted as he chipped the DC keeper and leveled the game at two goal apiece. This goal would also be checked with VAR for a fourth time in the game, but the goal stood.
The game was tied down the stretch and Orlando looked to be able to escape DC with a draw, but in late second-half stoppage time, United won a corner. Everyone from DC came up for it, including the keeper Ousted, but Orlando was able to clear and counter down the field with no one in their opponents net.
As Will Johnson got the ball on the wing, he slowed down a bit to try and pass the ball forward, but Wayne Rooney came in from behind and won the ball back, bombing back the other way with numbers in his teams favor. The English veteran bombed in a long cross, finding the head of Acosta on the far post, who guided it past Bendik and in for the eventual game winner. VAR was used for a fifth time to check the goal, but the play stood and DC United won the match.
45+4′ Luciano Acosta
50′ David Ousted (OG)
64′ Luciano Acosta
71′ Dom Dwyer
90+6′ Luciano Acosta
Orlando is off for the next week and will host Atlanta United on Friday, August 24 at 8 p.m.
How the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Joe Bendik; Mohamed El-Munir (67′), Amro Tarek, Shane O’Neill, Scott Sutter; Oriol Rosell, Will Johnson, Tony Rocha (57′), Cristian Higuita, Chris Mueller; Dom Dwyer (88′).
Bench: Earl Edwards Jr, Chris Schuler, PC (67′), Dillon Powers (57′), Pierre Da Silva, Josué Colman, Stéfano Pinho (88′).
(Photo Courtesy of Orlando City)
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