ORLANDO – March 21, 2015 – Before an announced crowd of 31,072 fans, Orlando City Soccer Club (1-1-1, 4 points) played a heated match against Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2-1-0, 6 points) on Saturday night. However, the Lions suffered their first Major League Soccer (MLS) defeat, conceding a late goal when Raul Octavio Rivero slotted home Pedro Morales' cross in the 96th minute of play.
The Lions' dominated play, controlling over 60 percent of possession and producing three more attempts on goal.
"I feel that if there was anyone who was going to win the game, it was going to be us," said head coach Adrian Heath. "If I’m being perfectly honest, I think we’ve had too many ‘nearlys’ all night. It was nearly a good play. It was nearly a good cross. It was nearly a good set up. And unfortunately nearly is not going to cut it, and that’s what I’ve just explained to the guys. Nearly is not going to be enough over the course of the season."
8' Orlando City opened the match with a purpose to send multiple players into Vancouver's half. After impressive build up play down the right-hand-side, Kaká drove a good ball into the box toward Pedro Ribeiro, who was unable to latch on to it.
13' The Lions continued to search for an early goal with clever tiki-taka play on the edge of the area, leading to a quality chance for Kaká whose effort was deflected wide for a corner. The ensuing set-piece was cleared away by the Vancouver defense.
25' Kaká's corner was nodded away to the edge of the area by Vancouver. Midfielder Eric Avila's follow up volley was powerful but sailed wide of the target.
30' With 15 minutes remaining in the first half, Kevin Molino and Kaká continued to display their impressive partnership in the final third with a series of clever one-twos deep inside the Whitecaps FC's half. Molino was eventually knocked down in the box, but the referee signaled play-on.
33' Vancouver's first real chance of the game came in the 33rd minute when Rivero was played in behind Orlando's defense with a piercing through-ball.The striker broke through on goal for a one-on-one with City goalkeeper Dononvan Ricketts, who produced a big-time save in the box to tip Rivero's shot wide for a corner.
34' One minute later, Rivero came close to scoring again from a diagonal cross into the box, but his final effort rattled off the crossbar.
45' Despite a high-paced target first-half that saw both teams produce four shots each, the opening 45 finished with a 0-0 scoreline.
48' To open the second half, Brek Shea ran on to Kaká's ball down the left wing but lost his footing before he was able to hit a driven cross toward Ribeiro and Molino.
54' Six minutes later, Amobi Okugo found Kaká, who skipped past a Vancouver defender before firing a shot. Unfortunately for City, the playmaker's strike flew over the crossbar.
57' The Lions won a highly dangerous free-kick on the right side of Vancouver's box. Kaká's curling free-kick found Ribeiro in the box, who nodded a strong a header that skipped just over the crossbar.
58' One minute later, Sam Adekugbe surged down the left-side and floated a ball into the area, but his cross was hit too high for any of the Whitecaps FC's attacking players.
68' Ribeiro rifled a curling effort that missed the top-corner by inches.
69' Orlando City's number one draft pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft, Cyle Larin, was brought on for Ribeiro, marking the rookie's debut appearance in MLS.
76' Defender Rafael Ramos ran on to a ball cleared out of the box, hitting a low effort wide of the post. Ramos' strike marked Orlando's ninth shot, three more than Vancouver who only had two strikes on target.
84' Defender Kendell Waston ran on to a threatening ball in the six from Hurtado but was unable to connect.
86' Kaká surged into the box and struck a low effort towards the near-post. The Brazilian's effort had Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Ousted beat but narrowly missed the target.
90' Kaká's cross in the 18 was met by Larin, whose powerful volley came agonizingly close to finding the back of the net.
96' In the waning moments of the match, Rivero eventually found the back of the net, tucking away Morales' cross, resulting in a 1-0 final score.
VAN – Raul Octavio Rivero (Pedro Morales) 96'
Orlando City SC – GK Donovan Ricketts, D Rafael Ramos, Seb Hines, Aurélien Collin, Brek Shea, Amobi Okugo, Darwin Cerén, Eric Avila, Kevin Molino, Kaká, Pedro Ribeiro (Cyle Larin 69')
Vancouver Whitecaps – GK David Ousted, D Sam Adekugbe (Jordan Harvey 75'), Steven Beitashour, Kendall Watson, Diego Rodriguez, M Kekuta Manneh (Eric Hurtado 67'), Nicolas Mezquida (Kianz Froese 67'), Pedro Morales, Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie, Raul Octavio Rivero
Time of Match: 7:30 p.m. EST
Weather: Clear March 21, 2015
VAN – Gershon Koffie (Yellow Card) 22'
VAN – Sam Adekugbe (Yellow Card) 36'
VAN – Raul Octavio Rivero (Yellow Card) 44'
VAN – Kekuta Manneh (Yellow Card) 65'
ORL – Aurélien Collin (Yellow Card) 78'
VAN – Jordan Harvey (Yellow Card) 95'
ORL – 12
VAN – 9
ORL – 17
VAN – 16
ORL – 1
VAN – 0
ORL – 4
VAN – 3
ORL – 2
VAN – 1
Orlando's next match will take place against the Montreal Impact at Olympic Stadium on March 28 at 4:00 p.m. ET.