Perea Scores First Goal but Lions Fall at Chicago

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 7, 2021) - Orlando City SC (6-3-3, 21 points) dropped a 3-1 decision on the road to Chicago Fire FC (3-7-2, 11 points) on Wednesday night, marking the first time the Lions have fallen in back-to-back regular season matches since August 23 and 31 of the 2019 MLS season. 

Despite the result, Club history was made on Wednesday night with midfielder Andrés Perea scoring his first-ever goal as a Lion in the 34th minute. Additionally, Sebas Méndez made his return to the Orlando lineup, entering the match as a second-half substitute after completing 2021 Copa América duties with Ecuador. 

The Lions pushed for the equalizer late into the match, including a bicycle kick attempt by Júnior Urso in the 86th minute, but Bobby Shuttleworth came up with the key save. 

Head Coach Oscar Pareja:
“Obviously sad with the result. It is difficult after a loss like this, when you concede the three goals, to see all of the good things that the boys did during the game. We are going without excuses and obviously absorb the result with responsibility. But I have to say, also, that the boys fought for the game the whole time, we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net today and we paid the expense of this game with some spaces we gave up at the end. We were risking and trying to send some players in front, especially the third goal. But, until then, I think a lot of good things happened. So we will correct it, we will keep going. I think so far nobody has [praised] the boys for what they have achieved, they have to keep going. It is what the game brings you. Right now we just need to come down and recover all of the people that have been out and we will be back.”

Scoring Recap:

34’ Andrés Perea - ORL 1, CHI 0
Orlando got on the board first, with Andrés Perea netting his first goal as a Lion in the 34th minute. After building up on the right side, Homegrown Mikey Halliday sent a low cross in that was tipped by a Fire defender, only to find the feet of Perea who shouldered off his marker and hammered in the opening goal. 

45+1’ Boris Sekulić (Álvaro Medrán) - ORL 1, CHI 1
The home team leveled things just before the halftime break, with Álvaro Medrán finding Boris Sekulić on a cross to the back post for the header goal. 

72’ Robert Berić (Álvaro Medrán) - CHI 2, ORL 1
Chicago took the lead with 18 minutes remaining, as Medrán’s through ball split the Lions defense to find Berić for the go-ahead goal. 

90+6’ Chinonso Offor (Przemysław Frankowski) - CHI 3, ORL 1
With the Lions pushing for a late equalizer, the Fire countered to seal things off with Chinonso Offor scoring the stoppage-time insurance goal. 

Match Notes:

  • With the opening goal in the 34th minute, Andrés Perea scored his first goal as a Lion in the match that also served as his 40th appearance for the Club. 
  • After missing a chunk of the 2021 season with injury, Uri Rosell earned his first start of season, which also came on his 29th birthday.
  • Sebas Méndez made his return to the Orlando lineup, entering the match as a second-half substitute after completing 2021 Copa América duties with Ecuador. 
  • Entering as a substitute in the 80th minute, Schaumburg, Ill. native Chris Mueller made his third professional appearance in his hometown on Wednesday night. 
  • Playing all 90 minutes, Rodrigo Schlegel made his first start for the Lions since May 22, a 1-0 win over Toronto FC.
  • Wednesday’s loss marked the first time since Aug. 23 and 31 of 2019 that the Lions have fallen in back-to-back regular-season matches. 

Next Match: The Lions will have over a week off from match play, next returning to the pitch to take on Toronto FC on Saturday, July 17.