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ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 31, 2022) - Orlando City SC (12-10-6, 42 points) battled back and earned a 3-2 victory over Seattle Sounders FC (10-15-3, 33 points) on Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium. The Lions were able to overcome a 2-0 deficit in the second half and win their fourth straight game of the season in a game that was delayed nearly two hours due to inclement weather. 

The Lions were backed by goals from Facundo Torres, Ercan Kara and Kyle Smith who all came into the match as second-half substitutes. Torres started things off by hitting a scorcher of a ball that left the Seattle goalkeeper flat-footed as the ball struck the back of the net. João Moutinho picked up the assist after finding Torres.

The match was leveled via Kara, who stepped up to the penalty spot after a handball to slot the ball home. The goal served as Kara’s 10th of the season in all competitions, which leads the team.

The game-winning goal came from Smith, who made a nice move on the endline to get away from his defender and rifled the ball towards the goal. The ball deflected off a Seattle defender and in, counting as Smith’s second game-winning goal of the season following his finish in a 1-0 victory at Toronto FC.

The victory marks the Club’s fourth-straight victory, with their last three matches seeing the Lions win in the dying moments. The stretch of games started with an 89th-minute winner from Tesho Akindele in a 2-1 victory over Charlotte FC. Akindele played hero again in the next match, scoring the game-winning goal in the 96th minute over NYCFC.

Head Coach Oscar Pareja:

“[We are] very happy of course. Very proud of this group of players. We understand that the best teams in the world, the boys spoke about it, are not the ones who don’t have difficult moments, but are the ones who overcome. This gives us a lot of optimism about who we are and how things come. A phenomenal effort against a very difficult rival, we have to remember that they were champions in the Concacaf and have a lot of hierarchy and players with a lot of experience. We found our ways to resolve the game and once again overcoming those challenges. Once again congratulations to the players and thanks to fans who stayed and waited for us with the delay. We dedicate this to the city and we will obviously get ready for what is our next challenge that we are waiting for.”

Scoring Recap:

26’ Albert Rusnák - SEA 1, ORL 0
The Sounders struck first after they earned a foul just outside the box. Midfielder Albert Rusnák stepped up and struck the ball over the wall and into the back of the net on the free kick. 

52’ Raúl Ruidíaz - SEA 2, ORL 0
The visitors doubled their advantage when forward Jordan Morris was able to drive the endline and strike a shot at goal. Lions goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was able to save the initial shot, but the ball fell to Raúl Ruidíaz who was able to do just enough to get the ball over the line. 

53’ Facundo Torres (João Moutinho) - SEA 2, ORL 1
The Lions quickly answered with a goal of their own with Facundo Torres able to gather the pass from João Moutinho and strike an absolute rocket into the top right corner of the goal that left the Seattle goalkeeper frozen as it hit the back of the net. 

68’ Ercan Kara (Penalty Kick) - ORL 2, SEA 2
Second-half substitute Ercan Kara leveled the match from the penalty spot after the referee deemed a handball in the box on a Orlando City corner kick. Kara calmly slotted the ball past a diving goalkeeper from the spot and into the bottom right corner of the net.

90+1’ Kyle Smith (Facundo Torres) - ORL 3, SEA 2
Orlando took the late lead after Kyle Smith drove the endline and cut the ball back on his left foot. He then sent in a missile of a shot towards goal that was deflected off of a Seattle defender and over the goal line. The initial play was ruled offside by the assistant referee, but following a lengthy video review, the goal was allowed. 

Match Notes:

  • Ercan Kara scored his team-leading 10th goal of the season in all competitions and his first from the penalty spot. 
  • The Facundo Torres goal marked his eighth of the season across all competitions. He also earned an assist on the game-winning goal marking his 10th helper across all competitions.
  • Kyle Smith netted his second goal of the season with his previous goal also serving as a game winner in a 1-0 victory at Toronto FC.
  • João Moutinho tallied his third assist across all competitions during the 2022 campaign.
  • Mauricio Pereyra tallied his 90th appearance for the Club. 
  • Antonio Carlos recorded his 75th appearance in purple. 
  • Iván Angulo and Niko Gioacchini each made their first starts for the Club in the match.
  • The Lions have won three straight games dating back to a 2-1 victory at Charlotte FC on Aug. 21. The three consecutive victories are a season high for the Club this season.
  • The beginning of the match was delayed 1 hour and 45 minutes due to inclement weather.
  • Head Coach Oscar Pareja made five changes to his starting lineup from his last outing, including Angulo, Gioacchini, César Araújo, Mauricio Pereyra and Tesho Akindele.

Next Match: The Lions return to the field on Wednesday, Sept. 7, set to host the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final with a matchup against Sacramento Republic on the docket. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET at Exploria Stadium in front of a sold out crowd.