Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Flamengo, International Friendly: Final Score 1-0 as Lions Fall in Rio

Orlando City traveled to Brazil to take part in the 120th anniversary game for famed Brazilian side Flamengo and, despite a bright first 45, they fell 1-0 to the hosts on a second-half free kick.



Nick Leyva, The Mane Land

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL — Orlando City took part in an entertaining friendly in front of 12,371 at the Maracana against Brazilian side Clube de Regatas do Flamengo in honor of the Serie A club’s 120th anniversary. It was the club’s first match outside the United States since joining MLS. Orlando City came in looking to spoil the party that they were invited to, and while they gave as good as they got, they were unable to come out the victors, losing 1-0 thanks to a deflected free kick.

Orlando City started the game the better side with some controlled possession in the early stages of the match, however, Flamengo slowly started to work its way back into the contest as the hosts got their feet under them. Orlando City seemed content to allow Flamengo to have most of the possession, which meant that both sides went back and forth and it wasn’t until the 19th minute that the Lions got a chance, when Luke Boden sprung Carlos Rivas down the left side. However, Rivas drilled his ball low and directly at goalkeeper Paulo Victor, who came up with the stop.

Flamengo almost countered immediately, coming free on a long ball down the left flank but was unable to make it count. This move was immediately reciprocated by Orlando City when Rivas managed to shake off his marker, using his pace to burst free, but his crossing attempt was mishit and went high and wide into the stands.

Orlando City however was not to be denied. The next opportunity came quickly, when Rivas played the ball inside to Darwin Ceren, who ran at the Flamengo defenders, made his way past, and played a one-two back and forth with Rivas, who shot it wide.

The Lions then had their best opportunity of the first half. With some passing plays on the edge of the 18-yard box, Adrian Winter managed to work his way inside, where he was solidly fouled by Alan Patrick. Referee Pericles Cortez had no choice but to point to the spot. Bryan Rochez stepped up to play take the penalty, but his timid shot was easily saved by Victor.

That was Orlando City’s last big opportunity of the first half, but the Lions did well to stop Flamengo in the last five minutes, when both Cristian Higuita and Ceren gifted Flamengo the ball. The hosts were unable to convert their opportunities.

At halftime, Flamengo changed out the entire side, and that seemed to be Orlando’s undoing. The fresh legs of the Flamengo players meant that Orlando City was often playing catch-up, and City half-time substitute Pedro Ribeiro often cut a lone frustrated figure up front. Flamengo started the half brightly with a quick one-two between players which left Boden turned around, however, the hosts couldn’t make it count. That assault was the first of many, with Flamengo again going close when a foul by Higuita on Ayrton outside of the 18 led to a nicely drifted ball in the box that none of the Flamengo attackers could get to.

Ribeiro provided a bright spot for Orlando City in the second half when in the 59th minute he drifted in from the outside with the ball at his feet. However, his shot was hard and low but was always going wide of the post. That turned out to be Orlando City’s only meaningful shot of the half.

This close call for Flamengo led the hosts to put a bit more effort into this anniversary contest, and in the 68th minute the deadlock was eventually broken. Thiago Santos ran through the middle, just outside the 18, but was fouled by a coming together of Seb Hines and David Mateos. With the ensuing free kick, Luis Antonio hit a curling drive that deflected off Ceren and left trialist goalkeeper Thierry Graca rooted to the spot with no chance at a save.

After that, Orlando City tried to get back in it but never really came close and the game ended 1-0.

“I thought that we put in a good performance, and I am little disappointed we didn’t win,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath after the match. “Or that that we didn’t at least get a draw out of the game. Before the game we would have probably settled for the scoreline, but having played the game, I think we have at least got a point or maybe even won the game.”


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