Orlando City SC (4-5-5, 17 points) extended its unbeaten run to four matches on Saturday night, defeating the Chicago Fire 3-2 at Toyota Park.
Despite falling behind 2-1 early in the second half, the Lions produced a complete team performance to battle back and claim the team’s first victory against an Eastern Conference side this season, propelling the Lions to fifth place in the East.
Although Orlando City controlled an overwhelming amount of possession against the Fire (62-38), the home side were equally dangerous on the counter attack, led by strikers David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike and midfielder Harry Shipp.
Chicago scored the first goal of the game in the eighth minute of play when Accam found Igboananike for a comfortable tap-in. However, Orlando increased the pressure in the final third, leading to an own-goal from Chicago defender Adailton in the 40th minute.
City maintained their strong play into the second half, but an efficient counter-attack from Chicago saw David Accam double the home side’s lead in the 55th minute.
In response, Orlando head coach Adrian Heath made two tactical changes that would prove to change the fixture, bringing on rookie Cyle Larin and speedy winger Carlos Rivas. Less than 20 minutes after entering the game, Larin produced a massive goal from distance, scoring his fifth goal in eight starts as the first year striker continued his excellent form this season.
Three minutes later, Rivas broke free down the left-hand-side and created the go-ahead goal for City as his cross deflected off Adailton. Chicago made a late push to salvage a point but sound defending from Orlando resulted in an impressive away victory for the Lions.
“In between the goals, I thought we were far and away the better team in terms of football this evening,” said head coach Adrian Heath. “I feel as though the group is coming together a little bit more, there’s a little bit more camaraderie in the group. It’s a really happy dressing room. I told them ‘Nothing comes easy. Anything that’s worth fighting for is hard.’ They dug in tonight and they were excellent. I thought there were some really good performances.”
2’ Early chance for the Lions in the 2nd minute, as Pedro Ribeiro was played in behind by left-back Luke Boden. However, the Brazilian was ruled offside.
8’ Stemming from a short corner-kick, Fire forward David Accam was able to find space in the box and pull the ball across to Kennedy Igboananike for a tap-in to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
15’ Despite conceding early, Orlando City maintained overwhelming possession over the home side (62-38), leading to an eventual threatening chance for City. Boden drifted an accurate ball to the back post, once again finding Ribeiro who skillfully brought the ball down on his chest in the six-yard-box. However, the striker’s right-footed effort was saved by Busch.
23’ Chicago’s efficiency on the counter resumed though, as Accam surged deep into the Lions’ box – blasting a strike over the crossbar.
35’ Ten minutes before halftime, Accam created another nervous moment for City’s defense, breaking free on the left side. After cutting inside on his right foot, Accam fired at goal but Aurélien Collin did well to come across and deflect it wide for a corner.
38’ Shortly afterward, Darwin Cerén produced Orlando’s best chance of the half, shooting from a half-volley from the edge of the area that forced veteran goalkeeper John Busch to make a difficult save.
40’ The Lions leveled the score-line on the ensuing corner-kick though, when Sean St. Ledger and Ribeiro forced an own goal by Chicago. Boden’s curling set-piece found St. Ledger, whose header on target was parried into danger by Busch. Ribeiro’s hard work in the six forced a deflection off Adailton to draw the match even.
45 (+1) At the end of the first half, both teams entered the locker rooms level 1-1.
46’ The Lions continued their strong play in the second half when Cerén had a prime opportunity from the edge of the area, which went wide of the target.
55’ Nevertheless, despite Orlando’s increasing momentum, the Fire responded on an efficient counter attack, that included several passes, before Accam’s finish from inside the box.
66’ Heath made his first change of the match, bringing on rookie Cyle Larin for Ribeiro.
76’ Moments after being introduced for Lewis Neal, Carlos Rivas struck an effort from a corner that went over the crossbar.
82’ Less than 20 minutes after entering the game, Cyle Larin produced a massive goal from distance, scoring his fifth goal in eight games as the first-year striker continued his excellent form this season.
83’ In an effort to salvage three points, Fire head coach Frank Yallop brought on veteran MLS striker Mike Magee.
85’ However, Heath’s second-half substitutes proved to be a genius tactical move when Carlos Rivas created the go-ahead goal for City as his cross was deflected by Adailton into the back of the net.
89’ Adailton had a quality chance to redeem himself while on the end of Joevin Jones’ ball to the back post. However, City goalkeeper Tally Hall was in a good position and deflected the header wide for a corner.
90’ The referee added five minutes of stoppage time.
90 (+5) The match finished with a 3-2 score-line, marking an impressive comeback victory for Orlando City.
Team 1 2 Final
Orlando City SC 1 2 3
Chicago Fire 1 1 2
CHI: Kennedy Igboananike (David Accam) 8’
ORL: Adailton (Own Goal) 40’
CHI: David Accam (Harry Shipp) 55’
ORL: Cyle Larin (Unassisted) 82’
ORL: Adailton (Own Goal) 85’
ORL: Aurélien Collin (Yellow Card) 25’
ORL: Cristian Higuita (Yellow Card) 33’
ORL: Darwin Cerén (Yellow Card) 60’
ORL: Sean St. Ledger (Yellow Card) 63’
CHI: Lovel Palmer (Yellow Card) 91’
CHI: Quincy Amarikwa (Yellow Card) 94’
Orlando City SC – GK Tally Hall, D Luke Boden, Sean St. Ledger, Aurélien Collin, Rafael Ramos, M Cristian Higuita, Darwin Cerén, Eric Avila, Lewis Neal (Carlos Rivas 75’), Kaká (Amobi Okugo 88’) Pedro Ribeiro (Cyle Larin 66’)
Chicago Fire – GK John Busch, D Eric Gehrig (Quincy Amarikwa 59’), Jeff Larentowicz, Adailton, Lovel Palmer, M David Accam, Matt Polster (Mike Magee 83’), Razvan Cocis, Joevin Jones, F Harry Shipp, Kennedy Igboananike (Matt Watson 76’)
Substitutes not used:
ORL: Donovan Ricketts, Seb Hines, Harrison Heath, Danny Mwanga,
CHI: Sean Johnson, Michael Stephens, Chris Ritter, Guly
Time of Match: 8:30 p.m. ET
June 6, 2015
The Lions will return to the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Sunday, June 14, for a match-up against Eastern Conference side D.C. United. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.
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