Orlando City

Orlando City vs. D.C. United: Final Score 5-0 as Lions Blast D.C. in Orlando

Lions run roughshod over visiting D.C. to win consecutive matches for the first time in 2024.



Image courtesy of Orlando City SC / Mark Thor

On a night when original captain Kaká was the first player inducted into the club’s Legends Terrace, Orlando City ran roughshod over D.C. United in a 5-0 beatdown before an announced crowd of 22,561 at Inter&Co Stadium. The Lions (7-9-6, 27 points) got goals from five different players and kept D.C. United (4-11-8, 20 points) off the board to earn their first clean sheet since a 1-0 win at San Jose on May 18.

Martin Ojeda, Robin Jansson, Ivan Angulo, Facundo Torres, and Ramiro Enrique all got on the scoresheet, with three of those goals coming before United center back Lucas Bartlett was sent off for denying Angulo a goal-scoring opportunity late in the first half. Orlando crept above the playoff line with the victory and won consecutive games for the first time in 2024, sweeping the season series from D.C.

“I thought it was another good night for us,” Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “We tried to get more consistency in these games, and we need it, not just because of the points but the confidence we need in the team.”

Pareja rolled with the same lineup that started in Toronto on Wednesday, with Pedro Gallese in goal behind a back line of Kyle Smith, Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, and Dagur Dan Thorhallsson. Cesar Araujo and Wilder Cartagena continued their central midfield partnership behind an attacking line of Angulo, Ojeda, and Torres, with Duncan McGuire — who was officially named to the 2024 U.S. Men’s National Olympic Team earlier in the day — up top.

D.C. came out as the more aggressive team, pressing high and winning the ball in the attacking half, but when United had the ball, it struggled to break through the Orlando defense. The Lions looked to spring the counter whenever possible and had success with it throughout the opening 45 minutes, building a big lead.

Thorhallsson did well to read D.C.’s movement and stole the ball in his own half, igniting the break in the eighth minute. He found Torres, who cut inside past a couple of defenders and fired a shot that was blocked. D.C. fullback Aaron Herrera was shaken up on the play. Although he was able to continue, he had to sub off before halftime. There was also a whiff of handball on the play but none was given and there didn’t appear to be a check.

Angulo gave D.C.’s three-man back line fits all night. In the 12th minute, he got down the left channel and tried to turn the corner but the ball was knocked away for an Orlando corner kick. The initial ball on the set piece was cleared out but knocked back in front, where Schlegel touched it home but he was well offside on the play.

The next few attacks went to waste due to a heavy left-footed cross by Smith and a good, right-footed, back-post cross from Smith without a teammate in that area.

The Lions took the lead in the 19th minute through Ojeda’s strike. Torres released Thorhallsson down the right flank and the Icelandic fullback was able to fight off the contact of Christopher McVey to get in behind. Tyler Miller came over to square up to Thorhallsson, who cut back and picked out Ojeda on the left. Ojeda did the rest, smashing it into the back of the net to make it 1-0. For the Argentine, it was goals in back-to-back games and his third of the 2024 season.

Angulo won another corner in the 23rd, as the Lions had trouble clearing the first defender with crosses at times. No matter, because the set piece turned into a goal. The ball was knocked out of the area and Torres retrieved it, feeding Cartagena down the right flank. The Peruvian sent in a perfect cross and Jansson met it in the air, heading it past Miller to make it 2-0 with his first goal of the year.

Another great ball from Cartagena sent Torres down the right moments later. However, a heavy touch allowed the defense to knock it behind for another corner. Ojeda’s service was flicked on by McGuire at the near post, but right at Miller, who was able to hold onto it in the 26th minute.

Ojeda again tried to pick out McGuire in the 29th minute but the pass had a lot of pace on it and the striker couldn’t keep his flicked shot on frame. Herrera then subbed off for Jacob Murrell a minute later.

Orlando spring another counter just after the restart, and Cartagena was sent down the right but he sent either a shot or a cross right at Miller.

D.C.’s closest opportunity at a goal came on a cross that was knocked high in the air, as Gallese and Smith collided along with a D.C. attacker. Jansson cleared the ball off the line as it landed. After a few minutes of treatment, Gallese was able to continue.

Orlando kept coming, winning a couple of set pieces, but the Lions couldn’t pay them off. Ojeda was waiting at the back post wide open in the 41st minute on the right, but Torres couldn’t get his chip pass over Miller, who caught it.

The Lions scored a few seconds later anyway.

Ojeda pulled Miller out to the left and dropped it off to Angulo, who smashed it in to make it 3-0 in the 42nd minute. It was Angulo’s third of the year.

Angulo slipped behind the defense early in stoppage time and he was taken down inches outside the box by Bartlett. It was a clear denial of a goal-scoring opportunity and Bartlett was sent off. For some reason, Araujo took the free kick and couldn’t get it over the wall.

Smith sent a layoff from Angulo well over the bar in the fifth minute of the eight minutes of injury time (that ended up being nine). Ojeda smashed a shot just over the bar in the final seconds and that was the end of the half.

Orlando City had the halftime advantage in possession (50.2%-49.8%), shots (11-4), shots on goal (4-1), corners (5-1), and passing accuracy (80.9%-75.2%).

“They don’t like to keep the ball in the back line much. They like to pump it forward to (forward Christiand) Benteke,” McGuire said. “We knew they were going to press high and get second balls off him, and that was going to leave spaces in behind in the counterattack. I think we definitely had our opportunities and took them well with getting three goals in the first half.”

“It was an outstanding first half, probably the best we have played during the year,” Pareja said. “It seems that our players are getting more confidence and we’re getting more close to what we were.”

The Lions started the second half looking to keep the ball more and D.C. tried to stay compact to keep the score from getting worse. The first chance of the second period came on a cross from Ojeda to McGuire, who fought off a defender and sent a header toward the right post. He couldn’t get much on it and Miller scrambled over to touch it out for a corner in the 48th minute.

Torres then took a layoff from Angulo in the 52nd minute to start a flurry of chances. After Torres’ shot was blocked, Cartagena went for goal from long distance and Miller had to dive to make the save. McGuire got to the rebound first but was at a tight angle and fizzed a shot just off target.

The game settled down for a while after that chance, but business picked back up.

Smith had a shot blocked at the top of the area in the 63rd minute. Second-half sub Luis Muriel got onto a pass from Angulo in front but had his shot blocked out for a corner in the 73rd minute. Miller made a great save to keep Schlegel’s header out and Jansson couldn’t make good contact with a teasing aerial rebound just in front of the goal line.

Orlando got its fourth goal in transition in the 74th minute. Angulo sent the ball left, releasing McGuire down the flank. When the big striker got into the box, he sent a perfect cross through the area to the right post for Torres to tuck home with his right foot, making it 4-0 on his sixth goal of the season.

“The confidence is obviously growing,” McGuire said of the team’s offensive outburst over the last several matches. “I think in the practices we’ve gotten a lot of the sequences and the attacking phases have started to come to us a lot more, and we’ve started to get more creative and (are) attacking with more urgency. And I think that’s shown in the past few games, and definitely tonight. It’s starting to come together for us.”

The second-half hydration break took place after the goal and Pareja sent Ramiro Enrique, Nico Lodeiro, and David Brekalo on for Ojeda, McGuire, and Jansson.

Enrique made it 5-0 in the 85th minute on a corner kick. Lodeiro sent in a dangerous cross that was flicked on by substitute fullback Alex Freeman. Enrique’s head was the next thing to make contact with the ball and he powered it past Miller for his first goal of the season.

Cartagena sent a shot from distance right at Miller in the 88th minute, and seconds later, D.C. nearly spoiled the shutout. Gabriel Pirani cut across the top of the area and tried to cut back a shot from the right inside the left post but it trickled wide.

The game ended without any further incidents and the Lions had their biggest win since June 22, 2021, when Orlando City beat San Jose by the same 5-0 scoreline.

The Lions finished with a lopsided statistical advantage, finishing with the edge in possession (61.8%-38.2%), shots (24-5), shots on target (10-1), corners (11-1), and passing accuracy (90.2%-80.7%).

Orlando was dominant even before the red card to Bartlett, but the outcome was never in doubt once that happened. It seemed only a matter of how many goals the Lions could score.

“Second half, obviously to play with one man more, we dominated the game territorially and spaces,” Pareja said. “But I think overall it showed us that we look much more like us now.”

The Orlando offense, which had been stagnant for more than half of the season, has now scored 15 goals in the Lions’ last five games.

The Lions head north to face the New England Revolution next Saturday at Gillette Stadium — a place they’ve never won.

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