ORLANDO, Fla. (June 18, 2022) - Orlando City SC (7-5-4, 25 points) took a 2-1 victory on Saturday night at Exploria Stadium over Houston Dynamo FC (5-7-3, 18 points) in the side’s return to downtown Orlando from the international break.
Ercan Kara lead the side on the night, picking up his first brace as a Lion with finishes on both sides of the break. Mauricio Pereyra notched an assist on each of Kara’s goals, with Facundo Torres earning the primary on the first of the two.
In addition, the match saw the Lions sport kits with Juneteenth-inspired numbers designed by Judah, a Black queer artist from Childsburg Alabama. The numbers were created with a vibrant yellow, green, and red color palette, to represent blood, soil and prosperity of Africa and its people. Along with the jerseys, Adidas also created Unity pre-match tops to celebrate diversity and unity. Fans will have an opportunity to purchase the Unity pre-match tops, while the jerseys will be auctioned off with Orlando City’s proceeds benefiting local non-profit My Brother’s Keeper.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja:
“[It was] a very important victory. Great first half and we saw a lot of things that are natural with this team, but today I thought we improved sequences in the quality. We kept saying that we have to be more polished and finish the games. Second half I have to recognize that Houston pushed and made us defend much lower than we wanted and then we end up with emergencies and urges in a game that could have been defined earlier. That taste of not having a complete game is probably what we have right now, but I have to recognize also that the players gave a great effort in New England in the middle of the week. That is what makes this victory even better. This is good along with the point in New England too, so we will keep going.”
25’ Ercan Kara (Facundo Torres, Mauricio Pereyra) - ORL 1, HOU 0
The Lions took the lead just past the midway point of the first half, with Mauricio Pereyra flicking a ball in behind the Houston defense to a running Facundo Torres, who slid it across the face of goal first time to find Ercan Kara for the finish.
58’ Ercan Kara (Mauricio Pereyra) - ORL 2, HOU 0
City doubled its lead with Mauricio Pereyra jumping on a loose ball in the box. The Lions’ No. 10’s shot then took a deflection off Ercan Kara into the back of the net, securing the brace for the Austrian international.
59’ Sebastián Ferreira (Zeca) - ORL 2, HOU 1
The Dynamo halved the deficit just a minute later, with Zeca whipping in a cross from the right side, finding the head of Sebastián Ferreira for the finish.
- Ercan Kara scored his sixth and seventh goals across all competitions for the Lions, extending his team high and accounting for his first multi-goal performance for the Club.
- Facundo Torres tallied his fifth assist of the campaign on Kara’s first-half finish, with Mauricio Pereyra providing the secondary to earn his eighth of the year. Pereyra would then add another on Kara’s 58th-minute finish, with he, Torres, or both having assisted on five of Kara's first six MLS goals.
- Pereyra tallied his second multi-assist performance of the campaign and his sixth overall for the Club.
- Alex Freeman was available for selection for the first time on Saturday night. The Homegrown signed with the Club on Feb. 15 of this year, the 12th in its history.
- Head Coach Oscar Pareja made two changes to his starting lineup from Wednesday’s match, with Ruan and Ercan Kara reentering the fold.
Next Match: The Lions head back out on the road, set to face FC Cincinnati on Friday, June 24 in a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff at TQL Stadium.