Orlando City

Orlando City vs. Chicago Fire: Final Score 3-1 as Facundo Torres’ Brace Powers Lions to Win

The Lions made it six in a row at home without a loss with a win over the Fire.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City allowed the Chicago Fire to close to within a goal in the second half but the Lions flipped the script of several recent games and scored an insurance tally rather than allowing an equalizer. Facundo Torres scored twice and Ramiro Enrique added the insurance goal to lead Orlando (8-5-7, 31 points) to a 3-1 win over Chicago (5-7-8, 23 points) in front of 22,070 fans at Exploria Stadium.

With the win, the Lions extended their home unbeaten streak to six games (3-0-3) and improved to 4-3-4 in league play at Exploria Stadium this season.

“A very good game in front of our fans,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “That is the most important note of the night other than just winning three points, but doing it in front of our fans means a lot for the group.”

Pareja’s lineup had a couple of minor changes. Pedro Gallese started in net behind a back line of Rafael Santos, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Kyle Smith. With Cesar Araujo suspended for yellow card accumulation, Wilder Cartagena was joined in central midfield by Mauricio Pereyra behind an attacking line of Ivan Angulo, Torres, and Martin Ojeda, with Duncan McGuire up top.

Orlando City controlled much of the play in the opening half. The Lions won an early corner and the ball fell to Torres at the top right corner of the box. The Uruguayan fired a shot just over the bar in the third minute.

Two minutes later, a ball in from Smith on the right found Ojeda but he missed the net from point-blank range. It was the third time an Orlando player has missed the entire net from just a few yards out in as many games.

Angulo picked up the loose ball off a heavy touch from Carlos Teran in the 16th minute just outside the Chicago area. He tried to play Ojeda in but a minor deflection kept the Argentine from being able to bring it in and get a shot away.

Chicago’s first attempt at goal came in the 25th minute when a long ball over the top from Shaqiri found Brian Gutierrez, who got a touch to it but Gallese knocked it out for a corner.

Schlegel sent a good shot on target off a corner kick in the 32nd minute but Chris Brady made a good save to keep Orlando off the board. Four minutes later, Brady made another stop to deny a blast by Ojeda. But the goal came shortly after that anyway.

The ball was sent wide to Smith and he sent a cross in that Torres got his head onto. Brady got a piece of it but it went through and into the net in the 36th minute, giving Orlando a 1-0 lead.

“I was just trying to bring the ball a little bit further inside and then get in a position in case it worked its way in there for me,” Torres said. “Then I saw the ball kind of swing out wide and I just kind of entered into the area and just tried to be in a good spot. It’s not my usual goal but I’ll take whatever way I can score.”

Santos tried a shot from long range in the 40th minute but hit it straight at Brady. Two minutes later, the Lions felt they should have had a penalty. Orlando worked the ball into the box and Pereyra was bundled over. He went down easily and no penalty was the correct call, but seconds later Torres caught a boot across both legs and went down. Nima Saghafi did not call a penalty and after a short review the teams played on.

“The ref told me that I was looking for the contact and looking for the foul,” Torres said. “When I was dribbling, I was off balance a little bit, but I didn’t think I was falling. And then the defender hit me and then I fell, but the ref told me that I was falling beforehand and I was trying to look for the contact.”

Neither side got a good look in the final moments of the opening half and the Lions took their 1-0 lead into the break.

Chicago held a surprising 52.8%-47.2% possession at the break — surprising because the Fire rarely seemed to have the ball past midfield. As a result of mostly holding the ball in their own end, the Fire held the advantage in passing accuracy (86.5%-83.2%). Orlando had more shots (10-1), shots on target (4-1), and corners (7-1).

“The boys expressed themselves very well the first 25-30 minutes,” Pareja said. “We should have scored a couple of goals. But we maintained our concentration and we were patient with the game, controlling it and creating sequences, creating options to score.”

The Fire came out of halftime more aggressive. Alonso Aceves sent a cross onto the roof of the net in the opening minute and Chicago started winning the ball more in the Orlando half. Kamara nearly scored in the 51st minute, getting his head to a corner kick cross. The striker sent the ball on target with pace and Gallese made a diving save to keep it out. It got poked back toward goal but Cartagena cleared it off the line.

The Lions broke the other way after the close call and Ojeda’s shot was blocked out for a corner. Saghafi held up Orlando City’s corner kick for an uncomfortably long period of time while the video assistant referee looked at the play to see if the ball crossed the line at the other end but no goal was given.

Instead, the Lions scored their second goal moments later. The corner kick cross deflected to Jansson near the top of the area and he flicked it toward the goal line but on its way it found the elbow of Fabian Herbers and Saghafi immediately signaled for a penalty. Torres took the spot kick and blasted home his second goal of the game to make it 2-0 in the 55th minute. The goal gave Torres five goals and an assist in his last four MLS matches.

“Thankfully, and with a bit of luck, things have been going well,” Torres said. “I’ve got that renewed motivation. I think the the national team really helped kind of re-spark that. We’re playing really well right now, and things are just starting to click.”

The Fire threw numbers forward trying to get back in the game and won a free kick that Shaqiri sent over the bar in the 59th minute.

Two minutes later, Torres tried to complete his hat trick with a shot from outside the area but it was always rising and the strike found the seats instead of the back of the net.

Shaqiri sent another shot over the bar in the 64th but got his goal moments after that miss. Gutierrez played a quick give-and-go and got behind Smith and then put on the brakes. Smith couldn’t stop and bundled him over to concede a penalty. Shaqiri made no mistake from the spot although Gallese guessed the correct way. The Fire were back within a goal in the 66th minute with plenty of time left.

“They were overloading one side and then there was a wall pass that I need to defend better,” Smith said of the penalty. “And then the player did well to get position on me and stop in front of me and it caused me to foul.”

Torres had another opportunity to complete his hat trick shortly after the Fire goal but Brady made the save, knocking it wide.

Orlando got its insurance goal in the 75th minute. A ball was played for Enrique over the top and into the left corner. Enrique was obviously offside and knew it, so he stopped his run and waved Angulo on to the ball. Angulo picked up the loose ball and sent a pass back to Enrique at the left corner of the box. The Argentine curled a beautiful low shot just inside the back post to make it 3-1.

“It gave us a lot of confidence. It was a great goal by Ramie,” Smith said. “I’m happy for him and it brought us together.”

Things got more difficult for the Fire in the 84th minute when Arnaud Souquet was shown his second yellow card and sent off, putting Chicago down a man. Orlando was content to try to see the match out but some sloppy passing gave the Fire some opportunities to get forward. Jairo Torres sent a shot over the bar from inside the box in the 86th minute.

Both teams had some chances in the nine minutes of stoppage time. Substitute Luca Petrasso volleyed a shot over the bar off a good cross from Dagur Dan Thorhallsson in the 93rd minute. Enrique had a shot blocked a minute later.

Rafael Czichos headed a corner kick cross off the post in the 98th minute for the Fire. The Lions broke the other way in a 5-on-2 transition opportunity that ended with substitute Felipe smashing a shot on target that Brady saved.

The match ended shortly after the Felipe attempt and Orlando City had all three points.

The Lions turned around the possession, finishing with a slim 50.1%-49.9% advantage. Orlando also had more shots (19-8), shots on target (9-4), and corners (13-3). The Fire had the advantage in passing accuracy (87.3%-86.3%).

“A lot of positive things, but now we just need to think about Tuesday,” Pareja said. “Recovering and those three points will give us a lot of confidence.”

The Lions have a quick turnaround after tonight, hosting Toronto FC on Tuesday night. Game time is 7:30 p.m.


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