ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN SPORTS) – Orlando City SC, fresh from MLS All-Star Week and the big game, hosted FC Dallas at Exploria Stadium Saturday, and Head Coach James O’Connor brought out the big guns to start.
Dom Dwyer, who hasn’t started for Orlando since the Lions’ matchup against Philadelphia a month ago, was back and starting, along with stalwart attackers Chris Mueller, Tesho Akindele and Ruan Teixeira. The rest of the lineup included Lamine Sane, Will Johnson, Sebastian Mendez, Carlos Ascues, Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson and goalie Brian Rowe.
Orlando had a close one in the 10th minute, with Ruan making the tight cross to Dwyer, who ran it left and made a sharp right cut shot to the goal, but the ball missed just off the right goal post.
Orlando got on the board three minutes later, thanks to Ruan’s left cross to Tesho Akindele, who found the inner right side of the net, bringing the audience to life and the score to 1-0.
Three Orlando players went down in succession: Dwyer went down again in the 42nd minute, then Will Johnson, in an effort to head a ball at the same time as Paxton Pomykal, and took an elbow to the face. Pomykal got the yellow for it. In the 44th minute, Ruan was pulled down in a duel for the ball, earning Brandon Servania a yellow card.
Orlando made its first sub in the 55th minute, bringing Sacha Kljestan in for Chris Mueller.
In the 61st minute, Dallas’s Dominique Badji got in close to the goal and made his best shot, but Orlando’s Robin Jansson made the block.
In the 67th minute, after an aggressive bout on both sides, Tesho got the ball and made the shot, but it flew high above the crossbar into the audience.
In the 69th, Sebas earned himself a yellow after attempting to slide a ball from Dallas, causing a tumble.
Orlando tried again for a goal in the 70th with Ascues coming up the left with a right cross to Tesho, who made a shot on target, which bounced right off Dallas goalie Jesse Gonzalez’s chest. The ball went far enough back for Kljestan to catch it and make his own shot on goal, but his flew above the crossbar.
In the following minute, fan favorite Luis Nani subbed in for Dwyer.
In the 82nd minute, Will Johnson went down for what seems like the sixth time as he and Jesus Ferreira competed for the ball. Ferreira was hit with the yellow.
In the 93rd minute, Kljestan made a smooth left cross with his right foot to Carlos Ascues, who ran the ball into the net for Orlando’s 2nd goal of the night and his first-ever career MLS goal, making the score 2-0.
In the 94th minute, Kyle Smith subbed in for Will Johnson.
Orlando City has a short turnaround, hosting Atlanta United FC in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals Tuesday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m. their next MLS home game is August 14 against Sporting Kansas City.
Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | email@example.com