Orlando FLA- The Orlando City Lions took a surprising loss after taking twenty-two shots, five of which were on target, against All-star Josef Martinez and the Atlanta United FC. A lone goal made by the All-star awarded the forward his 22nd goal of the MLS season and defeated the Lions 1-0 in the Exploria stadium Friday night.
In a shut-out match that the Lions displayed control from the start, a costly turnover in the mid-field lead to a goal assisted by Ezequiel Barco. Josef Martinez found the open pitch and took an accurate shot to the back of the net on his first shot on target in the 60th min. J Martinez has the second most scored goals in the league with Carlos Vela, for L.A Galaxy, is in first place with twenty-six.
The Orlando City Lions (9-12-7, 34points) looked promising as they hosted the number one seat in their conference with 22,014 fans in the Lion’s Den. Earlier this month Atlanta (14-9-3, 48) defeated the Lions in the U.S Open Cup semi-finals at the Exploria Stadium 2-0. United is scheduled to face Minnesota in the Open Cup finals on the 27th of August in Atlanta.
“Obviously very disappointed.” Stated Head coach James O’ Connor. “I think when you look at the game overall, we had enough chances to win two or three games, so I think unfortunately for us tonight we played very well. We had exceptional chances of creation, but we were unable to take our chances which is pretty hard to swallow; very painful evening for us.”
Play-off implications are on the line for Orlando City as the end of the regular season is approaching and the Friday loss costed the Lions their sixth spot landing them in the 8th seat with six games left to play.
Mauricio Pereyra had his first career start as a mid-fielder for the Lions this past Friday night and played exceptional well assisting on many chances that were created by the Lions front line. Pereyra commented when asked about his performance; “It was an important game for us, we need to be 100 percent and try to give everything of course. Maybe we’re not in 100 percent condition yet but with everything that I can do I hope to be there soon…” Pereyra made his first Orlando City debut last Saturday at Minnesota when he entered the match after halftime break for Robinho.
Orland City will head to San Jose to face the Earthquakes Saturday August 31st 10:30 Est time and will return home September 7th against Los Angeles FC @ 7:30.
Atlanta United returns home to face Minnesota August 27th @8pm.