Orlando City played its second away match of the season — against New York City FC — and this time came away with all three points. The 2-1 win, powered by two Cyle Larin goals, puts the Lions into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference.
New York City FC (3-3-1, 10 points) came out strong and dominated time of possession throughout the game, but the hosts were unable to overcome Orlando City’s (5-1-0, 15 points) two goals in the end. The Lions improved to 5-1-2 all-time against their fellow 2015 expansion team and 2-1-1 at Yankee Stadium.
Orlando City came out in the 4-4-2 diamond preferred by Jason Kreis with the same exact lineup as last weekend vs. LA Galaxy.
The Lions seem to be settling into the diamond nicely as the season goes along, and the team defense mentality was evident early on. NYCFC had more than 58% possession in the first half, but only managed one truly good chance in the 24th minute, when Maxi Moralez got a head on the ball in the box. Fortunately, Joe Bendik was able to easily handle the attempt. The Blues did have another attempt a minute later, but Tommy McNamara couldn’t beat Bendik.
As they have (mostly) done this year, the Lions took advantage of their chances, getting their breakthrough when Scott Sutter made his way up the entire field from the right back position to cross the ball in to Larin for his fifth goal of the season in the 31st minute. Rivas slid a perfect ball down the right for Sutter, who placed the delivery for a Larin tap-in. Despite the pressure from NYCFC, Orlando City took the 1-0 lead into halftime.
Orlando City was more settled at the start of the second half, though New York City continued to win time of possession. Most of NYCFC’s attack came from the right side of the field through Jack Harrison.
City got back on the front foot, and in the 51st minute Donny Toia wouldn’t let Sutter be the only fullback to get an assist, as he fed in a cross from the left side for Larin’s second goal of the game. The Canadian fought off Rodney Wallace with a show of strength and nodded home to complete his brace.
After Cyle’s second goal, the pressure from NYCFC increased as Patrick Vieira replaced defenders with attackers. Orlando City didn’t park the bus, but substitutions and two formation changes from NYCFC changed the dynamic of the game. NYCFC pulled back a goal from David Villa in the 74th minute to try to claw back into the match at home off a free kick.
The pressure from NYCFC was relentless, but the Lions were able to hold on for the victory thanks to a mostly good defense and several brilliant saves from Bendik, including a definitive game-winning save in stoppage time.
Orlando City was able to make the most of its chances, and defended as a whole team, enabling the Lions to come away with the win in New York. NYCFC won the time of possession, with 62.6%, and won 12 corner kicks. Despite those statistics, Orlando City won the most important part of any match, goals scored.
Orlando City is back in action Saturday, April 29 against the Colorado Rapids at Orlando City Stadium.