Orlando, Fla. (ORLANDO CITY) - Orlando City was playing a near perfect game. They did the hard thing — nabbing the opening goal on the road. Now they were withstanding attack after attack trying to hang on to three crucial road points.
An ill-timed turnover and C.J. Sapong header later, the Lion’s left Chicago with their heads down.
That disappointing draw may have worn on the team as they returned home and suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Montreal Impact.
Do you know what’s not the easiest place for a rebound game? Traveling to Red Bull Arena to face the 2018 Supporter Shield winners in a stadium where they rarely lose.
Orlando City was playing a near perfect game. They did the hard thing — nabbing the opening goal on the road. Now they were withstanding attack after attack trying to hang on to three crucial road points.
This time, it was a different story. On the road in New Jersey, seven long minutes were added to the match and the Lions held strong. They took the ball into the corner this time. They killed the game and took home three massive points.
If you were looking for a sign of growth, a sign that this team was coming together, you just found it.
“The identity of this group can’t be that game last week,” said Head Coach James O’Connor following the victory. “When I look at the performances that we’ve had previously they were all very encouraging. A lot of positives. The players get the reward tonight which is great.”
It’s a shot in the arm as the team returns home this weekend to face Eastern Conference leading D.C. United.
“We desperately needed a win and a road win to boost the confidence of our group,” said goal-scorer Sacha Kljestan. “We just put in a little extra work and we also learned our lesson from the Chicago game.”
Sunday’s match at Orlando City Stadium will pit former Manchester United teammates Nani and Wayne Rooney against each other for the first time in MLS.
Much like boost Rooney provided for United last season, Nani has had a similar impact both on and off the pitch.
The veteran and team captain called a players-only meeting prior to the win against the Red Bulls. He spoke about the team’s mentality and the importance of being able to win an ugly match.
The Lions will look to build on their performance with a win at home this weekend, ugly or not.
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