ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – Friday’s matchup with Orlando City SC and Atlanta United FC at Exploria Stadium promised to be a nail-biter…and delivered. Unfortunately for Orlando, who tried to break their all-time no-win history against Atlanta, they came away with more of the same, despite a season-high 21 shots.
Orlando’s Mauricio Pereyra made his first MLS start Friday night and showed his prowess as a playmaker, making multiple chances for his teammates. In his 60 minutes of play, he clocked 47 touches, 35 passes, three chances and a shot.
Both teams were equal parts ferocious and stingy in the first half, remaining scoreless and piling up tackles.
The tables turned in the second half. In the 60th minute, Josef Martinez dribbled into space before finding Ezequiel Barco at the middle of the pitch. Barco took a few touches before laying it back off to Martinez near the edge of the area, who hit it from the left side into the far post.
In the 67th minute, Orlando made its first sub, bringing in Dom Dwyer for Pereyra, and in the 74th minute, Orlando subbed in Chris Mueller for Carlos Ascues, but the Lions still couldn’t find the back of the net. They didn’t have any shots on target in the second half compared to four in the first half.
Orlando City head coach James O’Connor made it plain in the postgame press conference: “Obviously very disappointed…I think unfortunately for us tonight, we’ve played very well, we’ve had exceptional chance creation, we just weren’t able to take our chances, which is pretty hard to swallow. Very painful evening for us.”
The Lions head back out on the road, traveling to the West coast to take on the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, August 31. Kickoff for the match is set for 10:30 p.m. ET at Avaya Stadium. They return home Saturday, September 7 to face Los Angeles FC at 7:30 p.m.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | firstname.lastname@example.org