(Photo by Carlos Romero / The Mane Land)

Match Recap

ORLANDO, Fla. – “You hear that? Big sigh. Big sigh.”

Those were Orlando City SC head coach Jason Kreis’ opening words in his statement to the media following a 2-0 win over D.C. United at Orlando City Stadium Wednesday night, City’s first win in the month of May. Before the Lions’ midweek win, they were 0-4-2 in this month.

For the aggressive Lions, chances came quickly, as City took 19 total shots (five on goal). It wasn’t until the 66th minute, though, when City notched its first goal in the past three games. The Lions scored first off the head of forward Cyle Larin on the set-piece delivery by midfielder Will Johnson. It all began with the attacking effort down the left flank by 59th-minute substitute Giles Barnes, who drew a foul just outside the left part of D.C.’s box.

“I thought tonight was obviously a different level than some of the games,” Kreis said about Barnes. “The first game he played for us, I think, was that exact same level. And he’s had some along the way, but, for me, that’s your prototypical ‘why you make a substitution.’ You bring a substitution on to change the game, to lift the energy, and I thought Giles did a tremendous job of that for us tonight.”

But Barnes wasn’t done yet. The London, England, native opened his Orlando City scoring account as well. After taking an errant, coach-aggravating shot in the 85th minute from about 10 yards outside the box, Barnes returned to the same spot in the 88th minute and unloaded another shot on target on United goalkeeper Bill Hamid’s net. This time, though, the ball slipped past Hamid’s mitts and went in for a 2-0 lead.

“It’s interesting because we had a discussion yesterday, actually,” Kreis said. “I told him that I thought his goal would come in some strange way. I felt like he was really pressing for it. Could see it in the training sessions. You could see it in some of the games where he’s almost trying to do too much.

“And when he took the shot—after the first shot, I was pretty aggravated that he took it—and when he took the second one, I thought, ‘Oh my gosh. Here he goes again.’ And then the ball ends up in the goal. And so it came exactly like we thought—from a really strange play.”

Said Barnes on his first Orlando City goal: “Jay, to be fair, has been really good with me. He’s been telling me I need to be a little bit more selfish. So, you know, that’s what I’ve been doing in practice, and, you know, it just kinda became a habit. And I should have probably slid Tony Rocha on the first one that went wide, but, you know, second time it goes in. Always live by the harder you work, the luckier you get, and today I got lucky.”

It wasn’t just scoring that kept City in the game. With a narrow 1-0 lead 75th minute, center-back José Aja sent an errant backward pass to goalkeeper Joe Bendik. The ball rolled too slowly, allowing D.C. forward Lamar Neagle to pounce on it. Bendik flew out of the penalty box to challenge Neagle, but a touch over Bendik gave Neagle a chance on a seemingly empty net.

Center-back Jonathan Spector hustled in front of his own goal and deflected Neagle’s first shot, but the ball began to spin backward into the net. Bendik then sprinted back to his goal and dove to make a fingertip save to keep his team’s lead.

“As the ball went around Joe, I basically closed my eyes and figured, ‘Here we go again,’ with just some weird play that ends up with a backbreaking goal against us. But credit to Mr. Spector and credit to Joe for not giving up on that play.”

Said Spector on his save: “I think it was just kind of an errant back pass to Joe that we played, and Neagle kinda latched onto it pretty quickly, and it went around Joe. Joe came out, made himself big, which allowed me to get back on the line and make a play. Fortunately, it was just kinda the right place at the right time. But a bit of luck, which we’ve not had as of late. And then I think it hit the underside of my thigh. Went straight up into the air, and Joe did incredibly well to get back and make a play again.”

Man of the Match: Giles Barnes

From the moment he was inserted into the game, Barnes made an immediate impact, beginning with an open-field tackle just minutes into his playing time. Barnes was a part of goals, drawing the foul that led to Larin’s goal and scoring his first for Orlando City to close out the match. The 28-year-old finished with three shots (one on goal), created one chance and completed 81.8 percent of his 11 passes.

What’s next?

The Lions host the Chicago Fire on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

DC United’s Physicality Was Noticed by Orlando City

Right from the beginning of the match, D.C.’s physicality was noticeable. Kreis acknowledged the 10 first-half fouls by United and said the referees should have handled it better.

“I thought in the first half there was a lot of fouls actually,” Kreis said. “Felt to me as if they were trying to disrupt any rhythm, and I thought the ref really should’ve done a better job of controlling it. I know he did give one yellow card to their team, I think, for persistent infringement, but I thought there could’ve been a couple. A lot of fouls in the first half to disrupt the rhythm of the play and like to see that controlled better.”

For Larin, though, those fouls didn’t seem to affect his team negatively; in fact, it almost provided a boost for the Lions.

“I think when me and [forward Carlos Rivas] got the ball, and he stayed strong and got fouls, or we just bounced it off our midfielders,” Larin said after the match. “We’re able to get forward. And sometimes the ref didn’t call it for us, and I think that got us going. Even when Giles came on, made the tackle, it just got everyone going, and the ref wasn’t giving us anything. I think we just kept playing through it and made sure we kept focus.

“I think whenever someone got the ball and were attacking players, they kept trying to foul us. But I think it really got everyone going, and I don’t think it affected us.”

Highlights

NDR Notes

  • Barnes scored his first goal for Orlando City.
  • Rocha made his second appearance for the club’s Major League Soccer side. Before Wednesday’s win, Rocha tallied just three minutes in 2-1 loss to Toronto FC on May 3.
  • Rafael Ramos returned to his club’s MLS side’s lineup on Wednesday. He did not play in Wednesday’s match.
  • Larin was previously on a four-game scoring drought. His goal on Wednesday was his second in eight matches.
  • Wednesday’s win was Orlando City’s third win ever in the month of May. In 2015, the Lions defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 4-0 on May 17. Then in 2016, City beat the Montreal Impact 2-1 on May 21.

Scoring

Time Team Goal-scorer Assisted by
66’ Orlando City SC Cyle Larin Will Johnson
88’ Orlando City SC Giles Barnes n/a

Statistics and Starting Lineups

Goals Assists Shots Shots on Goal Possession %
Orlando City SC 2 1 19 5 57.2%
D.C. United 0 0 10 4 42.8%

Orlando City SC starting XI (4-4-2): Joe Bendik (GK); Donny Toia, Jonathan Spector, José Aja, Scott Sutter; Luis Gil, Cristian Higuita, Will Johnson (C), Matías Pérez García; Carlos Rivas, Cyle Larin

D.C. United starting XI (4-2-3-1): Bill Hamid (GK); Taylor Kemp, Kofi Opare, Steve Birnbaum, Chris Odoi-Atsem; Marcelo Sarvas, Jared Jeffrey; Luciano Acosta, Julian Buescher, Lloyd Sam; Lamar Neagle

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