After multiple rain delays and soggy playing conditions, Orlando City welcomed back 15,476 fans to Exploria Stadium with a memorable performance as Daryl Dike reintroduced himself to MLS with two goals in a 5-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday night
“We’re very proud of many things that we saw tonight,” said Oscar Pareja following the match. “First the fans. Seeing the stadium and on a Tuesday night, raining and the fans they’re cheering and supporting the team with such energy for sure powered our team. We’re very grateful with them. Secondly, to see the players put in together that effort and fighting all the way against a rival that, in spite of the result, has very good players and a great coach.”
Orlando came out after a delayed start to the match due to weather in dominant fashion. Just six minutes into the match, Benji Michel was fouled in the box by Florian Jungwirth, as Nani buried it to put Orlando up 1-0.
The Lions continued the domination just nine minutes later, as Chris Mueller chipped a ball into Benji Michel, who stepped in and tapped the ball in to make it 2-0. The assist for Mueller now ties him with Kaka for most assists in club MLS history with 22.
“For moments, it was difficult to play against,” added Pareja. “We were very sharp in the box today. Having that efficiency in our forwards, it just makes us feel very optimistic. So it was very good night and we’re very proud of all those things.”
Orlando kept their foot on the gas pedal with the counter attack as fifteen minutes later in the 31st minute, Orlando scored their third. Nani played a line-breaking through ball to Daryl Dike, who proceeded to round the keeper and finish with his left foot, scoring his first goal back with the Lions.
As the teams approached halftime, inclement weather once again stopped play for almost a full hour, as thunderstorms raged through downtown Orlando. The teams came out and played the final few minutes of the half, heading to the locker rooms once again.
With the second half starting, Orlando continued their onslaught. Off a free kick, Nani played a pinpoint ball in for Dike, who rose up to head it home for his brace. This also marked Nani’s second assist of the match.
The match calmed down from there, as both teams looked to simply play out the rest of the match with subs. Uri Rosell made his first appearance of the season in the 76th minute.
With time winding down, Benji Michel added the finishing touches to the match, scoring his second. After Tesho Akindele found Michel running into the box, the forward put it through the legs of JT Marcinkowski to put the Lions up 5-0.
The Lions (5-1-3, 18 points) head down south to Fort Lauderdale on Friday to take on Inter Miami CF at 8 p.m.
7′ – Nani [PK] (ORL)
16′ – Benji Michel, assisted by Chris Mueller (ORL)
31′ – Daryl Dike, assisted by Nani (ORL)
49′ – Daryl Dike, assisted by Nani (ORL)
90′ – Benji Michel, assisted by Tesho Akindele, Mauricio Pereyra (ORL)
How the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Brandon Austin; Joao Moutinho (Michael Halliday, 45′), Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Kyle Smith; Andres Perea, Junior Urso (Mauricio Pereyra, 56′), Benji Michel, Chris Mueller (Uri Rosell 77′), Nani (c)(Alexander Alvarado,71′); Daryl Dike (Tesho Akindele, 71′)
Substitutes: Mason Stajduhar; , Rio Hope-Gund, Joey DeZart, Silvester van der Water.
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