Columbus snaps Lions’ 15-match
home unbeaten spell

By Official Florida FC

Orlando City picked a poor time to produce one of its worst matches of the season. Columbus upset the Lions 2-0 in the MLS Cup Eastern Conference Semifinals on Saturday afternoon at Exploria Stadium.

Even before central defender Rodrigo Schlegel earned his second yellow card in the 77th minute, Columbus, controlled possession and produced better chances against an Orlando City squad that had not lost at home since April 22.

Christian Ramirez and Cucho Hernandez scored in extra time to send Columbus to the conference final for the second time in the last four seasons.

“It was a complicated game, especially in the first half and we felt uncomfortable and couldn’t create many sequences,” Orlando City manager Oscar Pareja told reporters afterward.

“We needed to be reactive to the game that we planned to be more positive in our ways. I thought the image that the boys left after a tremendous effort was great, I thought they were great. Their heart probably needed a better reward because they had a few chances where it could have impacted the game. Seems like our heart was bigger in those difficult moments, but it was not enough.”

Orlando City only put three shots on goal over 120 minutes. Facundo Torres had an opportunity to open the scoring in the 13th minute, but fired high from about 16 yards way.

Martín Ojeda could have ended the match in second half stoppage time, but his effort flashed across the far post.

“We tried to be ourselves, but this is a battle and they [imposed] it this game, and we had a couple of actions in the first half where we could have been ahead in the game,” Pareja says.

“Sometimes the possession catches your eye but in the first half we had a few chances and even in the second half we had the ball in front of the goal. We understand the circumstances and when you don’t achieve the objective you see more of those things, but we saw nothing different from the Columbus we know.”