Lions defeat Chicago to snag first August win
By Official Florida FC
It may be too early to think about playoff seeding, but Orlando City is inching toward a MLS playoff berth following Saturday’s 1-0 win over Chicago.
“A fantastic performance for the boys, especially for what they are getting through and tonight for the youngsters in Orlando where Mason [Stajduhar] and Raul [Aguilera] stood out today and showed their presence and the development of our Academy here,” Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja told the club’s website afterward.
“Competing and winning those three points means a lot for the Club, for the players. I think in the game we were good, we managed the tempo much better. The last six or seven minutes where Chicago started sending balls in the box, we had to defend with some suffering there, but overall I thought that our behavior was very good and what we wanted with the personality to create our sequences, create our chances. We would like to be more precise as we have been saying all along on scoring goals and obviously not suffering that much, but I’m very proud of this group.”
Homegrown investment bearing fruit
Benji Michel’s 51st minute goal was created by Tesho Akindele forcing the visitors to turn the ball over in the Lions’ attacking third. The Orlando City homegrown product didn’t miss to produce his fourth goal of the season.
Michel scored the only goal. Stajduhar recorded the first clean sheet of his professional career. Aguilera made his professional debut. All three are homegrown products.
Saturday also marked the first time Orlando City fullbacks Ruan and Joao Moutinho both started a match for the Lions. Ruan and Moutinho are both known for their attacking runs into the final third. They were instrumental in Orlando City advancing to the MLS is Back tournament final last August and earning the club’s first MLS Cup playoff berth.
Orlando City (9-4-7, 34 points) moved to second in the MLS Eastern Conference. The Lions are well-behind New England Revolution (15-4-3, 49 points). Orlando, Philadelphia (8-5-8, 32 points), Nashville (7-2-11, 32 points) and NYCFC (9-6-4, 31 points) have all alternated as the bridesmaid the Revolution at various points this summer. The Lions may be better placed to take second than the rest of the chasing pack considering their’ road form is superior to those three.
Orlando City will travel to surging Inter Miami on Friday night.