After dominating possession early in tonight's fixture, the Lions fell behind midway through the first half when Houston midfielder Will Bruin tucked the ball away from inside the box after an Orlando turnover in midfield.
The Lions' woes continued two minutes later when Aurélien Collin was sent off for a challenge from behind in the box. Brad Davis converted the ensuing penalty-kick to put Houston up 2-0. Moments before the halftime whistle, Leonel Miranda provided the final goal of the game for the Dynamo.
"It's not been a good week after only getting 25 minutes on Wednesday, and now having a game where we have two red cards," said Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath. "Obviously a difficult evening, but we've had them before and we'll have them again no doubt. We just have to regroup tomorrow and get some work done this week. This most disappointing thing has been the lack of minutes for some players. Tonight obviously wasn't ideal, but when I look back at it, it was a damage limitation in the end."
NOTE: With a loss against Houston, Orlando City currently remains in third place in the standings with two points (0-1-2, 2 points). The Lions will finish the Carolina Challenge Cup in third or fourth place, depending on the outcome of the New York City FC versus Charleston Battery match.
15' Orlando's most impressive combination play of the half took place on the edge Houston's box, when Kaká, Kevin Molino and Amobi Okugo broke down the Dynamo backine, springing Bryan Róchez in behind. The Honduran's final ball across the box was cleared out by the Houston defense.
17' Orlando's increasing momentum continued two minutes later when Kaká surged down the left-hand side, finding Brek Shea in stride. Shea's attempt at a cross rattled off the crossbar, creating a nervous moment for Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
27' Houston would breakthrough midway through the first-half after a poor giveaway from the Lions in the midfield. Two Orlando defenders surrounded Boniek Garcia in the box, but the striker did well to poke the ball to an unmarked Will Bruin for the finish.
27' Orlando nearly responded less than one minute later when Kaká found Róchez with a crafty through ball. The striker's left-footed attempt went just wide of the target.
29' The match took a turn for the worse when Aurélien Collin was sent off after bringing Garcia down in the box. Brad Davis' ensuing penalty-kick sent Lions' goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts the wrong way, putting the Dynamo up 2-0.
45' Minutes before the halftime whistle, Kaká was brought down in the Lions' final third while in possession of the ball, but the referee signaled play-on as Garcia charged at Orlando's goal with ample space in front of him. Garcia squared the ball to midfielder Leonel Miranda, who tucked it away for Houston's third goal of the half.
55' Orlando's first chance of the second 45 came ten minutes into the half when the Lions were awarded a free-kick after Kaká was brought down in Houston's half. The Brazilian's curling set-piece to the near-post was a dangerous one but went untouched, falling directly to Deric.
64' After just entering the match, Colombian winger Carlos Rivas was sent off for a high elbow. Rivas was making his first appearance since City's opening preseason match against D.C. United on January 30.
80' In the final ten minutes, Molino attempted to kick-start a late attacking surge for the Lions – wiling his teammates forward.
90' Houston's three-goal lead and two man advantage was too much to overcome, resulting in a 3-0 final score.
HOU – Will Bruin (Boniek Garcia) 27'
HOU – Brad Davis (Unassisted) 29'
HOU – Leonel Miranda (Boniek Garcia) 45'
Orlando City SC – GK Donovan Ricketts, D Sean St. Ledger (Trialist), Brek Shea, Rafael Ramos, Aurélien Collin, M Amobi Okugo, Eric Avila (Mena 34'), Darwin Cerén, Kevin Molino, Kaká (Carlos Rivas 61'), F Bryan Róchez (Danny Mwanga 65')
Houston Dynamo – GK Tyler Deric, D Kofie Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor (AJ Cochran 72'), David Horst, Demarcus Beasley (Alexander Lopez 76'), M Leonel Miranda (Nathan Sturgis 65'), Luis Garrido, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis (Rob Lovejoy 43'), F Boniek Garcia (Chandler Hoffman 74'), Will Bruin (Jason Johnson 66')
Time of Match: 5:00 p.m. EST
Weather: -- Clear
February 28, 2015
ORL – Aurélien Collin (Red Card) 29'
ORL – Brek Shea (Yellow Card) 60'
HOU – Leonel Miranda (Yellow Card) 60'
ORL – Carlos Rivas (Red Card) 64'
ORL – 5
CHB – 6
ORL – 14
CHB – 16
ORL – 0
CHB – 7
ORL – 1
CHB – 3
The 2015 Major League Soccer season kicks off at the Orlando Citrus Bowl as the Lions host New York City FC on March 8, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. ET.