Orlando City 1
Patrick Vieira suffered his first defeat as Head Coach under the Friday night lights as the Yankee Stadium hosts went down 1-0 to Orlando City in a game where NYCFC did everything but score.
A David Villa brace helped his side to a 5-3 win over fellow expansion team Orlando in this fixture in July 2015 but this time the hosts were behind six minutes in when Cyle Larin added to his portfolio of goals against NYCFC.
The Canadian international, who scored five times against NYCFC last season, headed home from close range when Josh Saunders was unable to turn Rafael Ramos’s cross far enough away from the danger area.
Tommy McNamara twice went close to hitting back within a minute of that Orlando goal with a duo of quick-fire shots from an acute angle and Mix Diskerud would have profited from a clever, deep 17th minute corner by Andrea Pirlo but for a fine save by Joe Bendik.
NYCFC wrestled control of the midfield battleground in the remaining minutes of the half, showing the perfect reaction to their early concession but a combination of wayward finishing and strong goalkeeping prevented them from earning their just reward.
This increased, intense pressure nearly resulted in that deserved equaliser twice on 59 minutes when Diskerud was denied courtesy of another excellent save by Bendik, via a clever reverse pass by Villa, before Tony Taylor shot wide when he really ought to have scored with a volley at the back post.
Substitute Steven Mendoza hit the post with 15 minutes remaining, summing up what was to be a frustrating night for the majority of the 24,597 inside Yankee Stadium.
Photo of the Match
How they lined up…
As in the last match against Toronto, Vieira lined up with a 3-2-2-3 formation with Andrea Pirlo and Federico Bravo at the base of midfield.
That left Khiry Shelton and Tony Taylor to provide the width on either side of David Villa, while Mix Diskerud and Tommy McNamara were charged with loading the bullets in behind.
Costa Rica international Ronald Matarrita was joined by Andoni Iraola and Jason Hernandez at the back in front of Josh Saunders.
Vieira brought on-loan Colombian forward Steven Mendoza on for Shelton at the break in a bid to provide Villa with more support and Mehdi Ballouchy took Bravo’s place with just under half an hour left on the clock.
Patrick Mullins was Vieira’s final throw of the dice on 78 minutes but NYCFC just couldn’t find the breakthrough.
Quote of the match
Second half substitute Steven Mendoza made a positive impact when he came on at the interval and he almost tied up the game with 15 minutes left on the clock.
The on-loan Corinthians forward was the man to finally beat Bendik in the Orlando goal but he couldn’t beat the woodwork, watching his shot come back off the near post.
That was as close as NYCFC came on a night where they racked up shots and corners, as well as the possession in the final third, but were unable to breach Bendik’s goal.
Man of the Match…
“L'Architetto” may not have found the pass to spring a stubborn Orlando defence but the Italian veteran still put in a display which reminded everyone watching of the qualities he can provide from the base of midfield.
With Bravo in tandem in front of the defence, Pirlo’s breadth of passing was on full display throughout the 90’ and he played a couple of clever dinked passes to Villa in the second half which almost caught Orlando City SC off guard.
Stats and milestones…
- Cyle Larin has now scored six goals in three matches against NYCFC.
- Steven Mendoza made his second appearance for NYCFC, coming off the bench at half-time.
- Orlando’s 1-0 win makes it 7-7 on aggregate through four MLS meetings with the club, with the visitors edging ahead on wins overall tonight (W2, D1, L1).
- NYCFC won the lone meeting against Orlando City in New York last season, 5-3, which was played on July 26, 2015. The five goals scored by NYCFC were the most goals scored by the team in a single game in its MLS history.
- Orlando City’s 73.9% passing accuracy in the opposition half led MLS in the 2015 season.
Tweet of the match…
What it means…
NYCFC went into the game behind only Montreal and Toronto in the MLS Eastern Conference through two after an unbeaten start to their campaign but Orlando moved ahead of them thanks to these three points.
There’s more in store at Yankee Stadium when Vieira’s men are next in action on Saturday, March 26 when NYCFC take on the New England Revolution.