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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 21, 2022) - Orlando City SC (10-10-6, 36 points) earned a hard-fought three points on the road on Sunday night, defeating expansion side Charlotte FC (10-15-2, 32 points) 2-1 at Bank of America Stadium. The Lions were backed by second-half goals from Ercan Kara and Tesho Akindele, the latter coming in the 89th minute to secure all three points for the visitors. 

The win was an important one for the Lions, taking down a Charlotte FC side that sat just one point below them heading into the match. With the victory, the Lions have jumped above the playoff line, going from ninth to fifth position as of the conclusion of the match. 

The win also marked the first time the Lions have defeated an expansion side in their inaugural road meeting, completing the season series with two 2-1 over Charlotte this season. 

Defender Kyle Smith, who earned the start at left back, also earned his 100th appearance across all competitions on the evening, with each coming as a Lion. 

Head Coach Oscar Pareja:

“An excellent game for us to show the character of the players, an excellent game to prove that these guys are working hard and the game would reward them. What I saw in the first half, the football that the team played in the first half was very good. We dominated the tempo, we created chances, we avoided [letting Charlotte] create chances, we made superiorities in the spaces that we needed. I saw a lot of discipline, tactically, especially with the ball with these players. Second half we understood that, being away, sometimes you just want to hold the game higher but it’s normal that the reaction of the other team is aggressive and cost us that tie goal. But, I noticed that our reaction after that goal was very professional and calm, and that made us score the second one which is something that hasn’t happened much this season. So we’re proud.”

Scoring Recap:

62’ Ercan Kara (Facundo Torres, Júnior Urso) - ORL 1, CLT 0
The Lions drew first blood on the night, stringing together some key passing in the Charlotte third and breaking through the line. Midfielder Júnior Urso played the ball to Facundo Torres at the top of Charlotte’s box, where the Uruguayan slid a pass between defenders to Ercan Kara. Kara took the ball and slotted the ball low to the left of Kristijan Kahlina and into the net. 

66’ McKinzie Gaines II (Kamil Józwiak, Brandt Bronico) - ORL 1, CLT 1
The hosts leveled just four minutes later as Kamil Józwiak and Brandt Bronico combined down the left flank. Józwiak then crossed the ball to a streaking McKinzie Gaines II who headed the ball to the right of Pedro Gallese for the equalizer.

89’ Tesho Akindele - ORL 2, CLT 1
City took the lead back late into the second half, as Júnior Urso picked up a ball just past halfway and slid it to Tesho Akindele. Akindele’s first shot was blocked by the Charlotte keeper before he grabbed his own rebound to give the Lions the lead once more. 

Match Notes:

  • The 89th-minute goal marked the first of the season for forward Tesho Akindele. He now holds 41 regular-season goals to his name across his career. 
  • Ercan Kara’s second-half goal was his eighth of the regular season, coming in his 25th appearance across all competitions.
  • With the start, defender Kyle Smith recorded his 100th appearance across all competitions, all coming as a member of Orlando City SC. 
  • Júnior Urso earned his 90th appearance as a Lion and his 80th start for the Club.
  • Sunday marked Orlando City’s first trip to Bank of America Stadium to face 2022 expansion side Charlotte FC. 
  • Picking up a yellow card on Sunday night, midfielder Mauricio Pereyra will miss Orlando’s next match due to accumulation. 
  • Head Coach Oscar Pareja made four changes to his starting lineup on Sunday, with Kyle Smith, Rodrigo Schlegel, Jake Mulraney and Ercan Kara all entering the fold. 

Next Match: Orlando City returns to the comforts of Exploria Stadium next weekend, hosting 2015 expansion rival NYCFC on Sunday evening in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. That match will air nationally on FS1.