USMNT vs. El Salvador: Photo Gallery
The United States Men’s National Team visited Exploria Stadium looking to stay perfect in the Purple Palace and to advance beyond the group stage in the Concacaf Nations League. With Ricardo Pepi’s second-half goal providing the slim margin, the Yanks accomplished their mission with a 1-0 victory over El Salvador.
Hugo Perez’s La Selecta were organized and determined, making life difficult for the Yanks, surrounding U.S. attacking stars Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Alejandro Zendejas, and Daryl Dike — the latter making his return to both the USMNT and Exploria Stadium. Whenever the U.S. threatened to come forward in transition, El Salvador fouled and forced the Yanks to execute on set pieces. The U.S. couldn’t find enough precision on those throughout the night.
After a scoreless first period, the United States came out of the locker room with a burst of energy and a flurry of chances. Reyna hit the post inside the first minute of the second half and the Yanks were flying around the final third, looking for the opener. El Salvador resolutely withstood the pressure to start the half, but after substitutions started, the game changed. Pepi came on for Dike at the hour mark and immediately made an impact.
Weston McKennie and Pepi seemed to share a telepathic moment and the midfielder sent a perfect through ball up the right side and Pepi made a perfectly timed turn and run to take it in stride. Holding off the defender, Pepi spotted the goalkeeper off his line and delicately chipped the ball in for the game’s only goal. Pepi had a couple of other decent chances but nothing else went in. El Salvador’s defending was good but the visitors got very few looks at Matt Turner’s goal on the night. Turner made a good save in the second minute but then wasn’t tested the rest of the way. The U.S. improved to 6-0-0 at Exploria Stadium and will move on to the semifinals in Las Vegas this summer.
We hope you enjoy these images from an exciting night of international soccer in former Orlando City striker Dike’s return to the City Beautiful.
Images: Dan MacDonald
Words: Michael Citro
Orlando City vs. Inter Miami CF: Photo Gallery
An album of images from Orlando City’s 3-1 win at Inter Miami.
The visiting Lions (5-4-4) feasted on the Herons (5-8-0), dominating the first 30 minutes, absorbing pressure as needed after Inter Miami made a tactical change, and then getting back on the front foot with a second-half change of their own. In the end, Orlando City left Fort Lauderdale with a 3-1 victory over its intrastate rivals, holding the hosts to just six shot attempts.
The traveling supporters chanted, cheered, and heckled away, trying desperately to overpower the artificially piped-in chant loop (which quite frankly is a shame — La Familia are more than strong enough to not have to compete with their own stadium).
Goal contributions from Ercan Kara and Martin Ojeda (a goal and an assist each) and Duncan McGuire (one assist off the bench), plus less regular offensive contributors Rafael Santos, who scored his first MLS goal, Cesar Araujo (his first assist of the season) and Rodrigo Schlegel (his first career assist) allowed Orlando to raid Miami’s Fort Lauderdale nest and return home with all three points.
We hope you enjoy the images from the away day in Fort Lauderdale!
Orlando Pride vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC: Photo Gallery
An album of images from the Pride’s 2-0 loss at Exploria Stadium.
Well, the Orlando Pride managed to dodge the lightning and most of the raindrops, but couldn’t quite dodge video review, as referee Elvis Osmanovic changed his initial ruling, awarding Gotham a penalty. That decision led to a late Pride loss to Gotham at Exploria Stadium, leaving Orlando pointless (0-3-0) on the nascent season.
The first half saw both teams able to advance the ball, but neither was able to provide the final pass or finish chances. The second half settled into more of a rhythm, with each team sustaining advantage for sections of the final 45 (plus) minutes, but the same inability in the attacking third persisted for both teams. It looked as if the game would end in a scoreless draw until a glacial video review awarded Gotham a penalty for a Caitlin Cosme handball in the box. Midge Purce smartly converted in the upper right, leaving Kaylie Collins no chance in her NWSL debut. Whether it was disappointment at conceding in stoppage time the second week in a row, or the distraction of the six-minute (!) VAR stoppage, Orlando lost focus and conceded a second goal in the 17th minute of added time (you read that correctly…17 minutes!) to seal the loss.
Despite the impending weather and the disappointing previous games, a decent crowd of 5,258 came out to support the team. That, combined with the club’s efforts to engage the spectators at halftime (T-shirt cannon anyone?), made for a refreshed atmosphere that hopefully will help energize the Pride into some better results soon. We hope that comes across in the photos from the game and we encourage you to attend one soon.
OCB vs. Inter Miami II: Photo Gallery
An album of images from the Young Lions’ 2-0 win at Osceola County Stadium.
Inter Miami sent its reserve squad north to take on Orlando City B, but the Young Herons and the cool, drizzly night couldn’t quench blazing hot OCB, which defended its home turf with a 2-0 victory, staying undefeated on the young season, at 3-0-0.
Goals in the first half by starting forwards Jack Lynn and Favian Loyola proved enough to frustrate Orlando’s southern neighbors on a night that did not see OCB goalkeeper Javier Otero challenged much. Otero came up big when it counted though, smothering a well-placed penalty early in the second half and making a vital reaction save late to ensure that the visitors could not climb back into the game. Strong defending as the game wound down ensured the clean sheet.
We hope that you enjoy the photos from the game. Vamos OCB!
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