Chris Mueller and Tesho Akindele both found the back of the net and Orlando City posted its fourth shutout of the season as the Lions downed the Columbus Crew, 2-0, at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday night.
The result marked Orlando City’s (6-3-8, 21 points) first win in MLS at MAPFRE Stadium after losing three of their first four meetings in Ohio’s capital city.
Opposite of how many games have gone this season, the Crew (5-2-11, 17 points) had been the better side by a decent margin through the first 40 minutes when Danilo Acosta and Nani combined to set up Mueller, who finished from the left side of the penalty area for his 4th goal of the season to put the Lions up 1-0 in the 41st minute.
The Lions survived a tense five extra minutes of stoppage time in the first half as the Crew put up several close chances, but as would be the theme for them throughout the night they struggled to finish their opportunities in front of goal.
Orlando doubled their lead in the 60th minute when Nani, again, set up Akindele this time for an exceptional curled finish from roughly 25 yards out for his 6th goal of the season. For Nani, his assist-brace puts him at six on the season, putting him among the best in Major League Soccer in combined goals and assists this season.
The win keeps Orlando City just one spot below the playoff line two points behind Toronto FC for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as they head into back-to-back games against the first place Philadelphia Union over the next week (at home on Wednesday and away next Saturday, July 6).
41′ – Chris Mueller (Orlando)
60′ – Tesho Akindele (Orlando)
Up Next for Orlando
The Lions return to Exploria Stadium for their first MLS home match in over a month as they host the Union on Wednesday, July 3.
How the Lions lined up
Starting XI: Brian Rowe; Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sane, Danilo Acosta; Dillon Powers, Uri Rosell, Sacha Klestan; Chris Mueller, Tesho Akindele, Nani
Bench: Greg Ranjitsingh, Alex De John, Ruan, Shane O’Neill, Santiago Patino, Benji Michel, Carlos Ascues
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