Oscar Pareja knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game heading into Saturday’s game between his Orlando City squad against the New York Red Bulls.
And that unease was displayed through the 90-minute match.
An early goal from Cristian Casseres Jr. was negated by a Chris Mueller second-half strike, but a late goal from Fabio was enough to lift the Red Bulls to a 2-1 victory over Orlando City in front of 19,009 in attendance at Exploria Stadium.
“New York is a team who has a lot of stamina, you have to be in that level of concentration and energy they bring from the beginning,” said Pareja following the loss. “I think we started slow today, and they scored first, and then it took us for a while just to find our rhythm. They have a good team. I think they’re a good team indeed, and they have the idea that is clear, they attack direct, they don’t allow very much, they go direct and sometimes the game goes back and forth. We wanted to pause the game in certain moments, we couldn’t do it the way we wanted. And then they were more effective with the chances too.”
Cristian Casseres Jr. opened the scoring early for the visitors, scoring in the sixth minute when his left-footed curler went past Brandon Austin for the 1-0 lead.
The Lions would pounce on their opportunities that followed after the New York goal, including a chance in the 27th minute when a counter-attack led by Nani saw his cross meant for Daryl Dike get cleared, finding Chris Mueller who’s shot at goal went over the crossbar.
Orlando will later find a golden opportunity for the equalizer when Mauricio Pereyra was fouled inside the box for a penalty in the 43rd minute, but Pereyra’s penalty would be denied by Carlos Coronel.
Dike almost scored the equalizing goal in the 52nd minute when a through-ball from Jr. Urso connected with the forward but Coronel came off big to stop the opportunity from close.
Dike would play a part in the game-tying goal when he forced a turnover to find Pereyra, who then picked out an unmarked Mueller, who struck the ball past Coronel for the 1-1 equalizer for Orlando in the 59th minute.
But the Red Bulls proved to capitalize on their chances, especially in the 79th minute when Fabio won a ball inside the box to strike from close past Austin for the 2-1 lead.
Antonio Carlos left the game early for Orlando, leaving the game in the 14th minute from an apparent lower-body injury. Rodrigo Schlegel would enter for the Brazilian centerback.
The Lions are on the road on Wednesday when they take on Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field at 8 p.m.
6′ – Cristian Casseres Jr., assisted by Patryk Klimala, Fabio (NY)
59′ – Chris Mueller, assisted by Mauricio Pereyra, Daryl Dike (ORL)
79′ – Fabio, assisted by Patryk Klimala, Dru Yearwood (NY)
How the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Brandon Austin; Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos (Rodrigo Schlegel, 14′), Michael Halliday (Silvester van der Water, 84′); Andres Perea, Junior Urso (Oriol Rosell, 70′); Chris Mueller (Tesho Akindele, 84′), Nani (c), Mauricio Pereyra (Benji Michel, 70′); Daryl Dike.
Substitutes: Mason Stajduhar, Alexander Alvarado, David Loera, Joey DeZart.
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