ORLANDO, FLA. – June 14, 2015 – Orlando City SC (5-5-5, 20 points) defeated Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United (8-5-4, 28 points) 1-0 before 30,054 fans at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Sunday night, extending the Lions’ unbeaten streak to five consecutive games.
Kaká’s finish in the 28th minute propelled Orlando City to third place in the East, as the team produced one of its strongest results so far. The goal was also the Brazilian’s seventh of the season, tying him for third among leading goal scorers in Major League Soccer (MLS).
After suffering narrow defeats to United earlier this season, City opened the game full of confidence, displaying its prominent possession-based style of play against the highly defensive-minded side.
Orlando eventually broke down D.C. midway through the first half, stemming from Rafael Ramos and Pedro Ribeiro’s combination. The young Portuguese defender, who provided an additional attacking option for Orlando all night long, floated a high cross inside the box to Ribeiro who brought it down in traffic before firing on-target.
While attempting to recover the rebounded effort, Ribeiro was brought down in the box, forcing the referee to award the Lions a penalty. Kaká’s initial effort was blocked by U.S. international Bill Hamid, but the midfielder pounced on the rebound and nodded it into the back of the net.
In the later portion of the second half, United made a concerted effort to push for an equalizer, as head coach Ben Olsen made three substitutions bringing on Luis Silva, Conor Doyle, and Miguel Aguilar. However, Orlando’s back-four, anchored by Tally Hall, remained sharp to close out the game and preserve the clean-sheet.
“I’m obviously delighted. I’m not sure we would have saw that through about five or six weeks ago,” said head coach Adrian Heath. “But I think that is a measure of how far we have come as a group. I thought that we really dug in and defended the goal later on. I was very pleased with our first half performance. I thought our ball movement and circulation was excellent. And as I said I’m pleased for the players, pleased for the supporters and I’m pleased to keep this roll going.”
10’ In the opening portion of the game, both teams had a slow start creating chances but City’s possession-oriented style of play was on full display as the Lions controlled the ball early 56-44.
15’ Kaká floated a free-kick from inside D.C.’s half, aiming for an unmarked Sean St. Ledger on the back-post, however United managed to clear the danger away.
23’ Midway through the first half, Kaká created the first threatening moment of the match for Bill Hamid, firing a low driven effort from distance. With the ball moving quickly, Hamid was forced to nervously push it wide.
24’ United responded moments later when forward Jairo Arrieta blasted a strike from the edge of the box. Tally Hall was positioned well though, making a relatively easy save.
27’ Ribeiro acrobatically brought down Ramos’ cross before blasting a shot on frame. While chasing the rebound, the Brazilian was brought down in the box, resulting in a penalty for the Lions.
28’ Hamid guessed correctly and saved Kaká’s initial penalty, but the midfielder quickly followed up his own attempt, nodding the ball into the back of the net to give City a 1-0 lead. The finish was Kaká’s seventh goal of the season, tying him for third in the league.
30’ The referees whistled for a water break, the first ever taken in Major League Soccer history. A second water break was taken in the 75th minute.
40’ With the first half winding down, D.C. began making more of a concerted effort to venture forward in search of an equalizer.
45 (+2) Orlando went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
46’ Orlando opened the second half with a strong chance when Ribeiro latched on to Eric Avila’s searching cross, heading the ball just over the crossbar.
49’ Fabian Espindola took off on a menacing run, charging at the Orlando backline but St. Ledger came across and made a strong challenge to dispossess the crafty striker.
68’ Despite D.C.’s effort to get forward, Orlando continued to control possession as the home side worked to preserve the clean-sheet.
72’ Ribeiro continued to cause problems for the United defense, volleying a shot that deflected off a charging Hamid.
83’ With seven minutes remaining, Heath made his first change of the game, bringing on Carlos Rivas and Amobi Okugo.
87’ Orlando Came close to doubling their lead in the 87th minute when Rivas broke free in behind the defense, running onto Kaká’s through-ball. However, the Colombian’s final effort from inside the box sailed over the crossbar.
90’ As the referee added five minutes of stoppage time, Harrison Heath was brought on for Kaká, as the youngster made his home debut at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
90 (+5) The final whistle blew as the Lions extended its unbeaten streak to five games, and recorded its second consecutive victory over an Eastern Conference opponent.
ORL - Kaka (Unassisted) 28’
D.C. - David Arnaud (Yellow Card) 23’
Orlando City SC – GK Tally Hall, D Luke Boden, Sean St. Ledger, Aurélien Collin, Rafael Ramos, M Cristian Higuita, Lewis Neal (Amobi Okugo 83’), Eric Avila, Brek Shea, F Kaká (Harrison Heath 90’), Pedro Ribeiro (Carlos Rivas 83’)
D.C. United – GK Bill Hamid, D Taylor Kemp, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, Chris Korb, M Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Nick DeLeon (Conor Doyle 74’), Chris Rolfe (Luis Silva 78’), F Fabian Espindola, Jairo Arrieta (Miguel Aguilar 56’)
Substitutes not used:
ORL: Donovan Ricketts, Seb Hines, Tyler Turner, Danny Mwanga
DC: Andrew Dykstra, Kofi Opare, Luke Mishu, Jared Jeffrey
Time of Match: 7:00 p.m. ET
June 14, 2015