Orlando- A perfect day in the city of Orlando and it clearly inspired the Orlando City Lions as they collected three points in a 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Lions make a serious attempt to rewrite history with a losing streak against the Whitecaps dating back to 2017 with a 2-1 loss at home.
The Lions capitalized on the long Road-trip cross-country that the Canadian team took to face the Lions in their den on a sunny afternoon in Orlando.
The Lions stood at (2-3-2, 8 points) after returning home from their first loss on the road against Real Salt Lake 2-1 to face the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Orlando City Lions ended the match with 60.6% possession with their passing accuracy being over 85% for the overall match. Nani redirected a shot made by Sacha Kljestan that found the back of the net in the 88th to bring home a late goal win for the Orlando City Lions.
Sacha Kljestan entered the game in the 75th minute and made a significant impact on the game with “fresh legs” coming off the bench for Orlando City. “I think watching from the bench I think we were playing a little bit to slow with the ball through the course of the game…the things I tried to mention to the guys at half-time were continue to work the ball on the wing. Try to create 2b1’s or 3b2’s and get crosses into the box but we needed more than just Dom in the box. He was very isolated today.”
When questioned on his thoughts of being substituted in after starting seven consecutive matches Kljestan stated, “Whether I start or whether I don’t it doesn’t really effect the way I approach the game, its same for me. When I get in, if I have 15minutes or 90minutes I have to effect the game in the ways I know how.”
Head coach James O’Connor had this to say in his opening statement in the post-conference of the match. “I think at times we showed some descent passes but I think we can play a little cleaner a little more crisp but I think its a massive win for us. I think with games like its important that you go and win the game and the players deserve enormous credit for doing that and going and getting the win.”
“Great team effort defensively,” said OCSC goalkeeper Brian Rowe. “I think it’s something to build on and a great result.” Rowe had two key saves in that match that left the Canadians scoreless in the 93 minutes played.
It seems that what ever happens on the field Nani had something to do with it. Its safe to say that Nani has proven himself to Head Coach James O’Connor that he does not deserve to spend 2/3 of the game on the bench. A soft touch that redirected the shot made by OCSC mid-fielder Sacha Kljestan is what gave Nani credit for the goal made in the 88th minute of the match to seal the game for Orlando City. Nani now leads Orlando City in goals for the season with 4 with Dom Dwyer not far behind with 3.
The Whitecaps defense made it a point to make it pretty difficult for Dom Dwyer to make a play on the ball. Dwyer was substituted out of the match at the 72nd minute with only 7 touches on the ball and only one opportunity to score a goal.
Orlando City Lions currently sit in the 5th spot of the MLS Eastern conference with 11 points (3-2-3).
Orlando City will be on the road next week in New York @1p.m
Vancouver Whitecaps headed home to face Philadelphia next Saturday at 5 p.m