After going up 2-0 before halftime, Orlando City came out to start the second half conceding two goals in two minutes, but managed to find a winner through Junior Urso to remain unbeaten in their last seven matches, winning 3-2 over the Columbus Crew on Saturday night at Exploria Stadium.
“It was a great effort by the players,” said head coach Oscar Pareja after the match. “Once again, they, they took us over many hurdles today. When the game was like a rollercoaster of emotions for us, dominating, not just the score, but dominating the game in the first half, and then come back in the second half with a team who creates trouble for us initially and then and then we concede two goals that came from nowhere, put us in a difficult situation.
“Emotionally, I think it was a tough moment for the team and that’s when the character, the togetherness and the glue that this team has, came out again and took us over that hurdle. As I said, it was a great third goal. It was a period of the half, in the second half, where we were dominating, on top of them and then the victory just magnified by that effort at the end as well. There are things that we need to be better, of course, we would like to keep being solid defensively and by scoring three goals today by the players is great, because we were talking about all this week, how can we get back scoring mode and today we did.”
Through the first portion of the match, it was the Crew on the front foot working to control the pace of the match. It wasn’t until 10 minutes into the match that the Lions started to find their way in the game. After a few half chances by Orlando, they managed to find their opener in the 26th minute.
After a clearance by Nani down the field, Daryl Dike managed to get underneath the ball and head it forwards towards goal. After Aboubacar Keita fell down trying to battle with Dike, the striker took the ball into the box against three defenders and fired a missile into the roof of the net, marking his first goal since before the Gold Cup.
The scoring would continue just three minutes later as Silvester van der Water got the ball with space just outside the box from Ruan. The Dutchman whipped in a cross to the far post, looking for Mueller, but the ball instead missed everyone and ended up in the back of the net, doubling the lead for the Lions. This also marked van der Water’s third goal of the season.
Orlando took that 2-0 lead into the half, looking to build on it as they came back out on the pitch, but the Crew had other plans. Just seven minutes into the second half, a mistake in the backline of the Lions gave the visitors new life. After a ball was popped up in the air, an Antonio Carlos header trying to get the ball away from goal instead ended up in the back of it, beating Adam Grinwis and getting the Crew back into the match.
The shellshock of the goal rattled the Lions a bit and the Crew took advantage, scoring again just two minutes after that. Lucas Zelerayan found Derrick Etienne, who laid off a ball into the box for Miguel Berry to finish past Grinwis to stun the Lions and pull the game level at two.
The Lions seemed to wake up from their halftime lul and began to pin Columbus back in their defensive half. Through the next 15 minutes, Orlando chipped away at the defensive shell of the Crew until finally breaking through in the 69th minute.
After Junior Urso started the play at the top of the box, Ruan got on the end of a loose ball, poking it to Daryl Dike. The striker then laid it back off to Urso to strike from just outside the 18 and nestle it into the side netting, putting Orlando back ahead with 20 minutes to go.
After some defensive substitutions and some key grabs from Adam Grinwis, the Lions were able to see out the win. The victory was also a milestone for Oscar Pareja, who won his 23rd match as Orlando City Head Coach, passing Jason Kreis as the all-time winningest coach in Lions history.
Saturday also marked the return of Adam Grinwis to the lineup, who notched his first win with the club since 2019. He becomes the fourth goalkeeper this season to win a match for the Lions, joining Pedro Gallese, Brandon Austin and Mason Stajduhar.
26′ – Daryl Dike, assisted by Nani (ORL)
29′ – Silvester van der Water, assisted by Ruan (ORL)
52′ – Own Goal (CLB)
54′ – Miguel Berry, assisted by Derrick Etienne and Lucas Zelerayan (CLB)
69′ – Junior Urso, assisted by Daryl Dike (ORL)
The Lions travel to Georgia to take on Atlanta United on Friday, September 10 at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1
How the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Adam Grinwis; Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan (Kyle Smith, 77′); Joey DeZart, Jr. Urso, Chris Mueller (Rodrigo Schlegel 87′), Silvester van der Water (Benji Michel, 57′), Nani (Mauricio Pereyra, 57′); Daryl Dike (Tesho Akindele, 78′)
Substitutes: Greg Ranjitsingh, Andres Perea, Uri Rosell, Emmanuel Mas
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