Orlando City

Orlando City vs. LA Galaxy: Final Score 4-0 as Lions Earn First Home Win in Dominating Fashion

The streak is over. Orlando City finally got its elusive first home victory by completely owning the defending champion LA Galaxy at the Citrus Bowl.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

It took a while, but Orlando City (3-5-3, 12 points) finally got its first home win in MLS and it was a dominating performance. Unlike other dominant matches in which the club hasn’t gotten results, the Lions had no trouble filling the nets in front of 40,122 fans at the Citrus Bowl in a 4-0 drubbing of the LA Galaxy (3-4-5, 14 points).

Eric Avila, Cyle Larin, Kaká, and Darwin Ceren found the net and goalkeeper Tally Hall was rarely tested in his Orlando City debut. Speaking of debuts, striker Martin Paterson finally saw the field in a purple kit, subbing in for Brek Shea in the 83rd minute.

Shea, who was sensational at times, assisted on the first goal to pick up his first service for City. The entire midfield dominated the game, particularly defensive mids Ceren and Cristian Higuita. The back line was resolute in the absence of Aurelien Collin, with veterans Sean St. Ledger and Seb Hines — the latter returning from a quad injury — turning in solid, workmanlike efforts.

“It was a special day all around, not the least of all getting our first MLS (home) win,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath.

Sloppy play in the opening minutes produced a chance for Larin on a cross by Shea, but he was bodied to the turf before he could shoot. On the resulting counter, Hines made a last-minute tackle to prevent a golden chance for Bradford Jamieson.

Orlando took its first home lead of the season on a great team goal to open the scoring. Kaká played a crafty through ball to Rafael Ramos, who crossed it in to Shea. The U.S. international headed it to Avila, who easily nodded it home for a 1-0 advantage just 12 minutes in.

The hosts nearly gave up their goal advantage in the 19th when a Jamieson cross sailed just beyond Gyasi Zardes’ head. The Galaxy came close again five minutes later when Ramos slipped, allowing Ignacio Maganto to shoot from close range, but Hines blocked it behind for a corner.

The game opened up after that for the rest of the half. The Lions nearly doubled the lead when defender Leonardo slipped, giving Orlando a two-on-the-goalie break, but Larin’s long-range chip went over the bar. Then Stefan Ishizaki turned Luke Boden inside out, but his left-footed effort was just wide.

It was a costly miss for LA, because two minutes later, Larin doubled Orlando’s lead. The Canadian international gave the ball to Kaká, who faked Tommy Meyer to the ground and crossed to give Larin an easy tap in on the back post to make it 2-0 in the 34th minute. It was Larin’s third goal in as many matches and four straight in all competitions if you include the Ponte Preta friendly.

Minutes later, Larin was clipped in the face in the box but there was no foul called and therefore no penalty given.

LA had the first half’s best final chance in the 45th, when Zardes got a cross from Ishizaki and missed badly on the volley. The Lions took their 2-0 lead to the locker room at the break.

Orlando was content to hold the ball and look for counter attacks in the second half. Kaká put the game out of reach from the spot after Higuita played him in and the Brazilian was alone on goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Kaká tried to chip the keeper and the sliding Penedo took out the captain’s feet instead of the ball. The Brazilian sent Penedo the wrong way and picked up his fourth goal of the season.

Ceren’s goal was just reward for a well-played game, as his low drive on target was deflected off Meyer’s foot and wrong-footed Penedo.

“I thought Darwin Ceren was the best player on the field today,” Heath said.

The win snaps an 0-3-1 streak and the team’s home 0-2-3 streak. City climbed to fifth in the Eastern Conference table with 12 points, two ahead of Toronto FC, albeit with two more games played. Columbus Crew SC, which has one game in hand, is in fourth with 14 points.

The team now gets a full week before next Sunday night’s game in San Jose against the Earthquakes.


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