ORLANDO, Fla. (September 17, 2016) – In its first match back from a two game, coast-to-coast road trip, Orlando City SC (7-9-13, 34 points) controlled the run of play and dominated scoring chances against Columbus Crew SC (6-11-11, 29 points), but ultimately fell 4-1. Cyle Larin scored his 14th goal of the season, ending Columbus’ bid for a shutout.
“There’s going to be nights where things don’t particularly go your way. Even in the first half we had several really good looks at goal. If one of those goes our way, maybe we’re getting a little bit of momentum and continuing to catch somewhat of a positive result,” Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “I’m pleased with the way the team responded in the second half. It would’ve been very easy to close up shop and everybody rest themselves for next week and they didn’t do that. They pushed on and fought. I think we can all be proud of that.”
Columbus got out to an early lead in the sixth minute when Ethan Finlay got on the end of Ola Kamara’s through ball. The two connected twice more, first in the 44th minute when Finlay found Kamara and again in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
The Lions pushed hard to earn points in front of over 30,000 purple clad fans and out-chanced Crew SC by a wide margin. City controlled over 55 percent of possession and outshot Columbus 20-8 while completing nearly 150 passes in the attacking third.
Larin got the Lions on the board in the 79th minute when he ripped a shot from distance into the back of the net. Servando Carrasco held stopped a Columbus clearance as the Lions out on steady pressure and passed up to Larin. The young Canadian turned and fired a right-footed shot that flew past Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark.
The match featured the return of forward Pedro Ribeiro to the 18-man lineup after the Brazilian underwent back surgery this summer. Joining him was right back Rafael Ramos, who worked his way back from a hamstring injury. Ramos played two matches with Orlando City B in August to regain match fitness.
It also saw midfielder Tony Rocha make his second MLS start. The 22-year-old played well in the first half, keeping several attacking spells alive while displaying strong defensive prowess in the holding midfield. Left back Mikey Ambrose entered the match in the second half and immediately made himself a threat going forward. The two were signed to MLS contracts from OCB on Aug. 4.
The Lions head to Washington, D.C. for a critical match against D.C. United on Sunday, Sept. 24. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET. City then visits Toronto FC on Wednesday, Sept. 28 before returning to Camping World Stadium to host the Montreal Impact on Sunday, Oct. 2. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET.