It was a rollercoaster of emotions on Orlando that left New York City FC eliminated from the US Open Cup after losing on penalty kicks to Orlando City SC. The dramatic fixture made it to extra-time following a 96th minute equalizer by Maxi Moralez but the comeback fell short thanks to fantastic goalkeeping from Orlando keeper Adam Grinwis.
City dominated the first half, moving the ball well and whipping in dangerous cross after dangerous cross from the wings. Midway through the half Jesus Medina got his head onto one of those crosses, nearly opening up the scoring. Grinwis was up to the task, making a diving save to leave the game scoreless. It seemed as if it was only a matter of time that New York would score.
“I think, it’s my opinion, that tonight soccer was not fair with us,” said head coach Dome Torrent. “I think we played much better than Orlando. Just in the 15 minutes of the second half they played better than us, but in the end, soccer is if you are able to score. We played much better but it’s not enough for us.”
The 15 minutes that Torrent spoke about were in the beginning of the second half. Orlando swarmed City and was able to get their goal thanks to a header from Chris Mueller. The play was possible due to star player Nani finally finding space on the wings. He shredded the City three-man backline and was able to create chances. From there, City settled back in but were unable to break down Orlando’s defenses. They didn’t register a shot on goal in the second half until stoppage time but it was all that they needed when Moralez swept a ball into the next in the 96th minute for the equalizer.
Extra-time itself was plodding with both teams exhausted in the Florida heat. Much of it was spent time wasting and gutting out the game until penalties. Once there, it became a dramatic even with Orlando fans rushing to the opposite end of the stadium to support their crew’s efforts.
“Shootouts are pretty crazy,” said goalkeeper Brad Stuver. “They had some of their normal PK takers out, we had some of our normal PK takers out. Little bit of educated guessing, little bit of gut reaction, a lot of luck. I was happy to get one but I really wish I could have gotten one more to help the team out.”
City fell in penalties 5-4, sending them home from the most successful US Open Cup run in their history. Still, the team fell short and played a good number of starters for 120 minutes that may not be featured in the weekend’s game against the New York Red Bulls.
New York City FC: Stuver; Ibeagha, Chanot, Sweat, Torres (64′ Parks), Ring, Ofori (80′ Tinnerholm), Matarrita, Medina, Heber (73′ Castellanos), Moralez (110′ Haak)
Orlando City SC: Grinwis; Ruan, Sane, Jansson, Smith, Kljestan (74′ Powers), Mendez (105′ Michel), Johnson, Mueller (90′ Rossell), Akindele, Nani (81′ Dwyer)
61′ (Orlando City SC) Chris Mueller assisted by Nani
90′ (NYCFC) Maxi Moralez
38′ (NYCFC) Sebastian Ibeagha – YELLOW CARD
65′ (Orlando City SC) Sebastian Mendez – YELLOW CARD
82′ (NYCFC) Valentin Castellanos – YELLOW CARD
90′ (NYCFC) Maxime Chanot – YELLOW CARD
95′ (NYCFC) Anton Tinnerholm – YELLOW CARD
113′ (Orlando City SC) Benji Michael – YELLOW CARD