ORLANDO – March 8, 2015 – In its first-ever Major League Soccer (MLS) match, Orlando City drew fellow expansion side New York City FC (NYCFC) to a 1-1 tie in a historic night for the City of Orlando before a sellout crowd of 62,510 fans at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
The attendance is the largest ever for a soccer game at the Orlando Citrus Bowl, surpassing previous crowds even during the 1994 FIFA World Cup. Today’s audience also is the second highest for an inaugural MLS match.
Despite Orlando controlling much of the possession throughout the fixture, NYCFC’s Mix Diskerud found the back of the net in the 75th minute. However, at the start of stoppage time, Kaká salvaged the tie Orlando City – scoring on a free-kick from 25 yards out.
Coach Adrian Heath:
“Obviously I’m not completely delighted with the final score because I think we played a good game. I’m extremely proud with everyone. The staff, the players and our supporters. It was absolutely incredible. Something I’ll remember forever.
On Kaka’s goal:
Didn’t want to end the day on a sour note. Whether we one, lost or draw today, I think both coaches would say we are a long way from where we want to be today. 20 some players to bring and get them in a good place. We did good in the first half and were a bit disjointed in the second, but overall a good day,.”
On thoughts of first MLS game:
“Very happy about the game. For sure, the result was not what we wanted for the first game. But everything tonight was incredible, so for the results it was OK. We have a lot to improve, but thank you for everyone who participated in this moment for us.”
On how the team played:
“I think it’s a little difficult to say. This was obviously very different. It was a different environment and crowd. But we are in a good place and have a lot to work on.”
On his goal:
“I was very happy when I saw it go in. Felt good. I obviously wanted to make the first goal of the MLS season opener for us, but it was a good moment.”
1’ Kaká whipped a ball into the box, finding Seb Hines’ header which went just wide of the target
8’ NYCFC striker Adam Nemec was played in behind the City defense from a crafty ball. His header went just wide of the target.
11’ City defender Rafael Ramos surged down the right-hand side and clipped a ball to Kaka, who rolled his shot just within inches of the far post.
13’ Shortly afterward, the sell-out crowd erupted when Lewis Neal’s curling free-kick was tucked away by Seb Hines after a collision in the box. Unfortunately, the referee signaled for a foul on New York City goalkeeper Josh Saunders.
25’ Midway through the first half, Orlando City continued to pressure the NYCFC backline, as Carlos Rivas combined with Rafael Ramos for a powerful effort that forced Saunders to push it wide for a corner.
37’ The Kaká / Molino effect kicked in at 37th minute when the Trinidadian set up the Brazilian for a strong shot from 20 yards away, forcing Saunders to push it wide.
45’ Despite Orlando’s relentless attack, the opening 45 finished at a 0-0 score-line with Orlando having the edge on shots (6-3).
47’ To open the second half, Molino provided the best chance of the game, curling an effort toward the far corner that seemed destined for the back of the net if not for a fingertip save by Saunders.
47’ On the following corner-kick, Kaká found midfielder Amobi Okugo, whose powerful header was cleared off the line by the NYCFC defense.
60’ Orlando came close to scoring again in the 60th minute when Rivas blasted a free-kick that went within inches of the post.
67’ New York came close to moving ahead seven minutes later when rookie Khiry Shelton ran on to David Villa’s through-ball. The young striker’s final effort skipped just past the far post.
74’ Less than ten minutes later, Shelton broke through once again but Brek Shea utilized his pace to come across and deflect his effort wide for a corner.
75’ During the subsequent corner-kick, Villa found Mix Diskerud on the edge of the area, and the midfielder was able to curl his strike past City goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts.
83’ The upward climb became even more difficult for the Lions when Aurélien Collin was sent off for a reckless challenge on David Villa with seven minutes remaining in the match.
90’ The Lions continued to battle for an equalizer, which eventually came in the waning moments of the match. With the game into stoppage time, Kaká’s free-kick from the edge of the area deflected off the wall, bouncing into the back of the net as Saunders went in the opposite direction.
NYC – Mix Diskerud (David Villa) 75’
ORL – Kaka (Unassisted) 90’
Orlando City SC – GK Donovan Ricketts, D Rafael Ramos, Aurélien Collin, Seb Hines, Brek Shea, M Kevin Molino, Cristian Higuita, Kaká, Amobi Okugo, Lewis Neal (Bryan Róchez 80’), F Carlos Rivas (Sean St. Ledger 90’)
New York City FC – GK Josh Saunders, D Josh Williams, Jason Hernandez, Chris Wingert, Jeb Brovsky, M Mehdi Ballouchy (Khiry Shelton 61’), Mix Diskerud (Sebastian Velasquez 87’), David Villa, Ned Grabavoy, Andrew Jacobson, F Adam Nemec (Javier Calle 89’)
Time of Match: 5:00 p.m. EST
Weather: -- Clear
March 8, 2015
ORL – Brek Shea (Caution) 28’
ORL – Kevin Molino (Caution) 40’
NYC – Mehdi Ballouchy (Caution) 41’
NYC – Jason Hernandez (Caution) 53’
ORL – Jeb Brovksy (Caution) 60’
ORL – Crisitan Higuita (Caution) 77’
ORL – Aurélien Collin (Red Card) 83’
ORL – 15
NYC – 8
ORL – 14
NYC – 17
ORL – 6
NYC – 1
ORL – 6
NYC – 1
Orlando City faces the Houston Dynamo away on Friday, March 13. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET. Orlando’s next home game is against Vancouver Whitecaps FC at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on March 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET.