It had been four matches since Orlando City had scored more than one goal in a match. Against Atlanta United on Wednesday night, the Lions finally broke through the seal, scoring four goal in a rout of the Five Stripes at Exploria Stadium in front of 3,495 fans.
“It’s certainly a game that means a lot for the franchise,” head coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “First, beating, Atlanta and secondly to see the boys performing so well as a group. We have had two weeks where we concede a goal in the last minute and give away points and tonight there was urgency for us to win those three points.”
Pareja continued: “A very good game we can explain it and the different phases where they tried to react but we were very clear in front of the goal today and I think that’s the highlight. Congratulations to the players, the boys who came in from injury too and started performing again. So slowly we’re getting in the team complete again and we’re happy.”
For the first 20 minutes of the match, the Lions had a bit of a struggle figuring out Atlanta, as the Five Stripes held most of the possession. It wasn’t until the half hour mark that Orlando finally broke through.
Ruan made a run down the line and found Daryl Dike waiting in the box. After a clever touch and turn, the striker finished with the outside of his right boot to give Orlando the lead, one they would not relinquish.
“Today we might have focused a little bit harder in front of the goal, and you know, dealt with some of those chances better,” Dike said. “I think that’s something that we’ve been kind of stressing that we need to take advantage of all the chances that we create because I mean every single game we’re creating these chances, and now we just need to start finding the back of the net, which, luckily tonight it was something that was falling for us.”
Orlando (9-3-5, 35 points) continued to grow into the game, they continued to build in chances. Just before the halftime whistle, Chris Mueller was fouled about 30 yards from goal. Mueller stepped up and smashed it over the wall and past Brad Guzan to double the Orlando lead as the teams headed into the locker room.
Coming back out for the second half, Orlando did not let up. After a goal kick for Orlando in the 60th minute, the ball found Tesho Akindele with a header, who flicked it on towards goal. Dike managed to get on the ball, turn towards goal and pass it back for Tesho to score, giving the Lions a commanding 3-0 lead.
Atlanta would add one late as Cubo Torres scored off a corner in the 87th minute, but Orlando would get the goal back in stoppage time when Matheus Aias got a final touch on a Sebas Mendez free kick to score the fourth goal of the match, sealing the deal for the home side.
Up next, Orlando will travel up to Red Bull Arena to take on the Montreal Impact in their final road game of the regular season on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. The match will televise locally on FOX 35 Plus.
29′ – Daryl Dike, assisted by Ruan (ORL)
45’+2 – Chris Mueller (ORL)
60′ – Tesho Akindele, assisted by Daryl Dike (ORL)
87′ – Cubo Torres, assisted by Marcelino Moreno (ATL)
90+2′ – Matheus Aias (ORL)
Here’s how the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Pedro Gallese; Ruan, Antonio Carlos, Robin Jansson, Kamal Miller; Junior Urso, Joey DeZart (Sebas Mendez, 68′) ; Chris Mueller (Alexander Alvarado, 79′), Nani, (Benji Michel, 62′), Tesho Akindele (Andres Perea, 62′); Daryl Dike (Matheus Aias, 79′)
Substitutes: Brain Rowe, Alex DeJohn, Kyle Smith, Rodrigo Schlegel
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