Orlando City opened up its 2019 U.S. Open Cup run in new territory against familiar faces, prevailing victorious with a 3-1 win over Memphis 901 FC at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex in Memphis, Tennessee on Wednesday night
Sacha Kljestan bagged a pair of goals and Robin Jansson sealed the deal late to lift Orlando to victory in their first-ever meeting with Memphis, which is headed by former Orlando City goalkeeper coach Tim Mulqueen.
The Lions came in looking to take the next step in the nation’s oldest soccer tournament after last season’s quarterfinals loss to the Philadelphia Union and kicked things off with a positive start and a dominating performance over the USL Championship side.
Orlando put up 15 shots while also holding over two-thirds of the possession, while moving the ball around for nearly 600 passes.
Memphis managed to hold the Lions scoreless through most of the first half until Shane O’Neill was brought down by a hard foul in the box, forcing the referee to award a penalty to Orlando. Kljestan stepped up and buried the penalty, giving his side a 1-0 lead in the 38th minute.
Memphis was able to pull a goal back and level the game for a brief period early in the second half. Elliot Collier headed home a corner kick for the home side to make it a 1-1 game in the 50th minute.
Five minutes later, Cristian Higuita started an Orlando City counter with a ball-winning tackle, cutting the ball off to Kljestan, who found Higuita back in the box. The Colombian, who played 77 minutes before coming off for Carlos Ascues, cut a pass across the box to Kljestan, who laid it home to put the Lions back up, 2-1.
Jansson doubled Orlando’s lead in the 71st minute, cleaning up a loose ball in front of the goal line to push the score to 3-1.
Randy Mendoza, who plays for Orlando City B, joined Orlando on loan for the match and made his way on to the field in second-half stoppage time.
Orlando City is on to the Round of 16 in the 2019 edition of the Open Cup, which will likely take place next Wednesday, June 19. There will be a random draw on Thursday at 10 a.m. ET to determine who the Lions will play and where. Stay tuned for that.
38′ – Sacha Kljestan (Orlando), PK
50′ – Elliot Collier (Memphis)
55′ – Sacha Kljestan (Orlando)
71′ – Robin Jansson (Orlando)
How Orlando Lined Up
Starting XI (4-3-3): Adam Grinwis; Shane O’Neill, Lamine Sane, Robin Jansson, Alex De John; Cristian Higuita, Dillon Powers, Sacha Kljestan; Tesho Akindele, Santiago Patino, Chris Mueller
Bench: Brian Rowe, Ruan, Carlos Ascues, Uri Rosell, Randy Mendoza (Orlando City B)
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