HARRISON, NJ – Sept. 25, 2015 – Orlando City SC (10-13-8, 38 points) turned in an entertaining five-goal performance at Red Bull Arena Friday night as the Lions secured a confident 5-2 victory over Eastern Conference leading New York Red Bulls (14-9-6, 48 points), marking Orlando’s third consecutive win.
Forward Cyle Larin recorded his second hat-trick of the season to extend his tally to 14, breaking Damani Ralph’s single-season scoring record for a rookie (11), as playmaker Kaká and winger Carlos Rivas also displayed impressive performances, notching two assists each.
The match featured a high-paced tempo from the opening whistle, but Orlando would stun the home crowd in the 24th minute when Larin broke the record - heading Kaká’s corner to the near-post into the back of the net.
New York equalized five minutes later from Central Florida product Dax McCarty’s diving header, but midfielder Carlos Rivas would make an immediate impact on the game after being brought on in the 33rd minute. He was subbed for Seb Hines, who suffered an injury.
Shortly after being introduced, Rivas propelled City to the lead once again, finding Larin for a clinical finish with a well-timed ball into the box one minute before halftime.
The Lions’ strong play continued 37 seconds into the second 45 when another threatening cross from Rivas forced an own goal from New York center-back Damien Perrinelle as he was attempting to prevent it from reaching Larin.
Lloyd Sam revitalized hope for the Red Bulls when he brought his team within one in the 57th minute, however another efficient counter-attack from City saw Larin blast Rivas’ second assist of the game into the roof of the net just four minutes later.
Kaka, who was instrumental throughout the entire match for City, set up second half substitute Bryan Róchez for his third goal in as many games during a clever one-two play, capping off a complete performance for the Lions as they continue to chase the final playoff berth in the East.
“It gives us an opportunity to stay in the race and that’s what we’ve wanted to do. We’ve had two difficult away games (Chicago and New York) and it’s been a magnificent effort from all of the players,” said Heath “I’m delighted for every single one of them and for our supporters who traveled here today. I expect us to get a fantastic crowd next Saturday against Montreal, and we hope to try to keep it alive again for another week.”
11’ The Red Bulls pressed forward early in the first half, but Orlando’s defense remained compact as they sustained New York’s early pressure.
13’ After recovering the ball deep in City’s half, midfielder Darwin Cerén clipped it over the top to Brek Shea, releasing the winger in behind. Shea attempted a volley from distance but hit it wide of the target.
17’ The Red Bulls were awarded a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the area, but Tally Hall made a comfortable save on Bradley Wright-Phillips’ low strike.
24’ Orlando City stunned the home crowd when Cyle Larin broke the single-season scoring record for a rookie (12), nodding Kaká’s corner to the near-post over Luis Robles and into the back of the net.
29’ The Red Bulls equalized five minutes later from a free-kick when Matt Miazga headed the ball back across the six to Central Florida product Dax McCarty for a diving header. City also lost a key player on the play when Seb Hines was brought off after suffering an injury during the goal.
33’ As a result, Heath was forced to make his first change of the night, introducing Carlos Rivas after moving Luke Boden to center-back and sliding Shea into left-back.
40’ Larin drove deep into New York’s half after running onto Ramos’ ball and found Kaká with a square pass across the area. The Brazilian quickly cut to his left and fired a strong shot that went just wide of the far post.
44’ The Lions regained the lead on an efficient counter-attack when Rivas broke free in behind and played a precise ball into the box to Larin, who took a touch before burying it into the back of the net.
45’ The action continued moments before the halftime whistle when McCarty and Wright-Phillips both had headers that rattled off the woodwork.
45 (+4) The referee signaled for halftime, with the Lions holding the advantage at the break.
46’ Orlando City opened the second half with a fantastic start when Rivas’ ball into the box forced an own goal from Damien Perrinelle as he was attempting to prevent it from reaching Larin.
57’ Lloyd Sam reduced the Red Bulls’ deficit near the midway point in the second half when he tucked away Veron’s driven cross into the box.
61’ With the Red Bulls pushing numbers forward, the Lions were able to capitalize on another counter-attack when Larin secured his second hat-trick and 14th goal this season, finishing Rivas’ second assist of the game.
65’ Heath made his second change of the game, bringing on Swiss midfielder Adrian Winter for Neal.
73’ Kaká continued to remain aggressive on the attacking end, cutting inside the box and firing with his left foot, hitting it just wide.
76’ Heath’s final substitution saw Bryan Róchez come on for Larin, capping off another impressive performance for the Canadian in his rookie season.
77’ Matters became worse for New York when they were reduced to 10 men when Matt Miazga received a second yellow for obstructing Róchez who was running at goal.
81’ Orlando worked the ball down field with solid possession play, leading to a chance for Rivas from the edge of the box, but Robles managed to hold on to it.
85’ Kaká nearly produced an acrobatic finish when he volleyed Winter’s floated ball into the box, barely missing the target as he stunned Robles who was left standing still.
90 (+3) Kaká and Róchez’s clever one-two sealed the deal in the final minute of the game, as the Honduran forward scored his third goal in as many matches, securing a 5-2 victory for the Lions.
ORL: Cyle Larin (Kaka) 24’
NY: Dax McCarty (Matt Miazga ) 29’
ORL: Cyle Larin (Carlos Rivas) 44’
ORL: Damien Perrinelle (Own Goal) 46’
NY: Lloyd Sam (Gonzalo Veron) 57’
ORL: Cyle Larin (Carlos Rivas) 61’
ORL: Bryan Róchez (Kaka) 93’
NY: Matt Miazga (Yellow Card) 15’
ORL: Cristian Higuita (Yellow Card) 28’
ORL: Kaka (Yellow Card) 51’
ORL: Tally Hall (Yellow Card) 56’
NY: Ronald Zubar (Yellow Card) 64’
NY: Matt Miazga (Second Yellow Card) 77’
Orlando City SC - GK Tally Hall, D Rafael Ramos, Seb Hines (Carlos Rivas 33’), Aurélien Collin, Luke Boden, M Lewis Neal (Adrian Winter 65’), Cristian Higuita, Darwin Cerén, Brek Shea, Kaká, F Cyle Larin (Bryan Róchez 76’)
Unused Subs: GK Earl Edwards Jr., M Eric Avila, Servando Carrasco
New York Red Bulls - GK Luis Robles, D Connor Lade, Matt Miazga, Damien Perrinelle (Shaun Wright-Phillips 69’), Kemar Lawrence, M Dax McCarty, Felipe (Gonzalo Veron 53’), Lloyd Sam, Sacha Klejstan, Mike Grella (Anatole Bertrand Abang 79’), F Bradley Wright-Phillips
Unused Subs: GK Kyle Reynish, D Ronald Zubar, M Sal Zizzo, Sean Davis
Time of Match: 7 p.m. ET
September 25, 2015
The Lions will return to the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Saturday, October 3, to host the Montreal Impact. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.