Facundo Torres scored a brace — getting one of his goals from the penalty spot — after Ivan Angulo opened the scoring, and the two wingers led Orlando City to a 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. The Lions (6-4-5, 23 points) extended their unbeaten streak to five games (2-0-3), improved to 4-1-2 on the road, and beat the Red Bulls (4-6-7, 19 points) for the fourth consecutive match in all competitions.
Angulo’s first-half goal was the difference at halftime but just after the restart, the hosts had a player sent off, then conceded a penalty, and New York finished with nine men after using all five substitutions due to Lewis Morgan picking up an injury.
“It’s a great victory for our team. We needed something like that at this stage of the season,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “We’re still finding ways to get better, but when you look back and see how we have overcome moments…today was another good example of the character of the players. And under that discipline and cohesiveness with the players on the field, we found our ways to score in the right moments and beat a difficult rival that never gave up. So we’re very happy with the victory.”
It was Pareja’s 50th win as Orlando City’s coach in all competitions.
Pareja’s lineup was the same as last weekend vs. Atlanta, featuring Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, and Kyle Smith. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena continued their central midfield partnership behind an attacking line of Angulo, Mauricio Pereyra, and Torres, while Ercan Kara led the attack up top.
The first half was a complete rock fight, with neither side getting much done in the first 15 minutes. New York had the better of the play, however, with Gallese getting caught far from his net in the 12th minute, but the defense was able to clear the centering pass. Two minutes later, New York got forward when Carlos took a forearm in the back and went down. When no call came, Dru Yearwood raced forward and got to the ball at the end line, but Gallese blocked his tight-angle shot out for a corner.
The Lions opened the scoring in the 18th minute. Defender John Tolkin got caught high up the pitch and Orlando made the hosts pay. Cartagena unlocked the defense with a through ball for Angulo to run onto. The Colombian dribbled in, avoided a sliding challenge attempt from Dylan Nealis, and fired home with his left foot for his third goal of the season.
Much of the rest of the half consisted of Orlando surviving transition attacks and then turning the ball over shortly after taking a goal kick. The Red Bulls had a golden opportunity in transition in the 30th minute, but Luquinhas hit a soft shot right at Gallese after Pererya lost the ball just past the halfway line, igniting the Red Bulls’ transition game.
Torres laid off a ball for Smith in the box in the 41st minute, and the defender should have done better from that position, but he sent his shot about six yards wide of the left post.
The Red Bulls presented a ton of difficulty in what was announced as a minimum of five minutes of stoppage time (for…reasons), which ended up becoming eight. Tom Barlow should have scored into an empty net in the seventh minute of injury time but he fired well over the bar from the top of the box with Gallese out of position from an initial shot attempt.
The Lions held more possession in the opening half (52.1%-47.9%). The Red Bulls had more shots (7-2) and shots on target (2-1), earning the only corner of the opening period. Neither team passed well, with Orlando City holding a slim 76.1%-74.9% advantage. But it’s where the Lions made poor passes — the middle third of the field — that was concerning and led to most of the danger New York presented.
The game got weird just after the restart. Just two minutes after the break, a ball over the top found Kara, who powered past Andres Reyes. The big center back, who was on a yellow card for a high hit on Torres late in the first half — a play that was reviewed as a possible red but wasn’t changed after review — pulled Kara back in transition and received a second yellow card, ending his night after 47 minutes.
The Red Bulls cleared the ensuing free kick, but moments later, when play stopped, referee Victor Rivas went to the monitor again to review the earlier set piece. Sean Nealis had pulled Jansson down from behind as the ball was arriving, and Rivas awarded a penalty after watching the replay. Torres stepped up to the spot and beat Coronel — who guessed correctly — putting it in the top right of the net with a great deal of power. Torres’ second goal via penalty against New York this season made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute.
Torres said Coronel tried to psych him out before the penalty.
“I think everyone agrees that if a penalty is well taken, there’s limited possibilities that the goalkeeper has to save it,” Torres said through a club interpeter. “And so, I had that in my mind walking up, even though this goalkeeper knows me a little bit. And he was actually saying that to me when I was walking up to take the penalty and mentioning that he knows me and that he’s faced me before. But like I said, when when you’re taking a penalty, if it’s well taken, the penalty taker has the more possibilities to put it in the back of the net. So that was kind of what I was thinking going in, is if I take this well, there’s not much that he can do about it.”
Torres took it well.
Things looked good for Orlando after the second goal, but then Araujo went down with an injury and had to be subbed off, with Felipe entering the battle in the 57th minute.
Even down two goals and a man, the Red Bulls continued to press high up the pitch. Even up a man, Orlando City continued to be careless with the ball, giving up possession repeatedly and flirting with New York’s counterattack game. Tolkin saw his shot deflect out for a corner in the 58th minute. Orlando cleared and Torres raced down the field in transition but somehow managed to get dispossessed, allowing the hosts to come the other way. Yearwood fired wide on the other end to end the counter-counterattack.
Pareja sacrificed Kara and Pereyra for Duncan McGuire and Martin Ojeda after that, and things calmed down for a few moments. Angulo was sent down the left in the 65th minute and his shot from a tight angle was saved by Coronel.
Torres put the game away in the 72nd minute. The Lions cleared a set piece and Ojeda knocked the ball down the pitch on the recycle attempt. The ball ended up in acres of space and Angulo blazed past Frankie Amaya to reach it first and carry it down the left. He drew a second defender toward him, and then fed a perfect pass to his right for Torres to bury.
The hosts, to their credit, did not give up. Down a man and three goals, after playing in Miami three nights earlier, the Red Bulls just kept coming. Second-half sub Elias Manoel fired a shot that Jansson blocked in the 76th minute.
Torres had a chance to complete his hat trick a minute later, but he unselfishly tried to cross for Ojeda, and the defense knocked it out for a corner. A minute later, Torres sent a well-shaped cross from the left to Ojeda, but the Argentine smashed his volley effort into the ground and it bounced off target.
New York then won a series of late corners and Orlando had a scary moment in the 82nd minute when Dylan Nealis fell into Gallese’s leg as the goalkeeper was landing after catching the ball. Gallese looked to be in a great deal of pain and distress, but after several minutes of treatment he was able to continue.
He didn’t look steady moments later though, when he took too much time to make a pass and it was nearly blocked into the goal behind him by Manoel. It went just wide.
Jansson blocked a menacing shot from Morgan in the 91st minute, and the New York midfielder went down after the shot. Morgan was unable to continue. The Red Bulls were out of subs and had to finish the game with nine men. Nevertheless, they kept pressing and winning the ball from a careless Orlando side, but the Lions were able to see out the eight minutes of stoppage and claim all three points.
The Lions finished with more possession (51.2%-48.8%) and fired more shots on target (5-2). The hosts passed more accurately (79.2%-78%), attempted more shots (14-7), and won more corners (8-2).
Orlando City’s three goals were the most conceded by New York’s stingy defense this season, and the Lions matched their season high with three goals in the match, which they set in their last road game at Inter Miami.
Pareja said the counterattacking style of play was the game plan entering the match.
“New York is a team who like to press high all the time, and their intensity to create chaos and and confuse the teams, forcing them to make mistakes, is a style that we respect and we know. Every time we play against them it’s that way. But that provides some spaces in behind and with them it’s a key to be sharp in the moments that the game allows us to get in behind and be lethal in those moments, and that was exactly what happened tonight.”
Orlando City returns home next Saturday to host the Colorado Rapids at 7:30 p.m.