NEW YORK – July 26, 2015 – Despite a hat-trick from rookie forward Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC (6-9-6, 24 points) fell to New York City FC (6-9-6, 24 points) 5-3 in a highly entertaining game that included eight goals before 32,041 fans at Yankee Stadium.
The match marked the first time in MLS history that three FIFA World Cup winners played in the same game, as Italian great Andrea Pirlo made his league debut.
Led by assistant coach Mark Watson, who was at the helm due to Adrian Heath’s suspension, Orlando City opened the game with a 3-4-3 formation, employing three center-backs to provide coverage for Spanish National Team’s all-time leading scorer, David Villa.
For the majority of the first half, Orlando’s defense managed to keep Villa relatively quiet, however the forward was able to jump on the scoresheet in the final minute of the half, scoring a quality finish just inside the box.
Larin matched Villa’s effort with a goal very similar to the Spaniard’s, battling one-on-one with Jefferson Mena before calmly tucking the ball away at the near-post. With a New York goal from Javier Calle and the introduction of Pirlo five minutes later, an uphill battle seemed to be on the horizon for Orlando, however, Larin continued to guide City back into the game, slotting away Rivas’ ball into the box in the 61st minute.
The end-to-end action continued in the 66th minute when Villa and McNamara scored two goals in a four-minute span. Nevertheless, Larin reduced the deficit in the 84th minute, blasting a big time strike into the top corner for his first professional hat-trick, leaving goalkeeper Josh Saunders standing still.
In the final minute of the game, Kaka almost recreated his free-kick magic from the first meeting between both teams on March 8, hitting a set-piece from outside the box that rattled off the post. With Orlando pushing numerous players forward to search for the equalizer, New York ventured on the counter with Mix Diskerud scoring the final goal for the home side.
“It’s obviously disappointing. We had a chance to make it 4-4 in the 93rd minute. So to come off losing the game 5-3 is disappointing,” said Watson. “Defensively, we weren’t quite good enough, conceding five goals, but I think the fight back on a couple of occasions was good from our guys, and that’s what we’ll take out of the game.”
12’ Orlando’s first real threatening chance occurred when Cyle Larin broke free toward goal, batting with one-on-one Andrew Jacobson before tucking the ball into the back of the net. However, the rookie was called for a foul, disallowing an early goal for the Lions.
14’ NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis was forced to use his first substitution of the game when defender Chris Wingert down with a hamstring injury, bringing on Jefferson Mena.
20’ Orlando had a prime goal-scoring opportunity when Kaka’s free-kick found both Cyle Larin and Sean St. Ledger unmarked on the back-post, but neither player was able to connect with the Brazilian’s set-piece.
30’ An errant back-pass to Tally Hall fifteen minutes before halftime nearly proved costly for Orlando when the goalkeeper’s clearance was blocked Javier Calle, skipping just past the target.
34’ City continued knocking on the door in the 34th minute after crafty play from Kaka in the final third, finding Rivas deep in NYCFC’s box. The Colombian fired an effort across the six but pulled it wide of the far post.
38’ With both teams finding their rhythm in the game, Angelino responded for New York when he ran on to a clipped ball in the box, firing wide of the frame.
44’ One minute before the end of the first half, a moment of brilliance from David Villa, who was held relatively quiet by the City defense in the opening 45, produced the game’s opening goal when he clinically tucked the ball into the back of net.
50’ Cyle Larin matched Villa’s near-post finish with a spectacular goal to open the second half strongly for Orlando City. Similar to the spaniard, Larin battled one-on-one with Mena before blasting a low, left-footed, effort into the back of the net.
53’ However, New York responded quickly, scoring three minutes later when Thomas McNamara found Javier Calle on the back-post for a tap-in.
55’ Shortly afterward, Kreis introduced Italian legend Andrea Pirlo for his first-ever MLS match, marking the first time in league history that three World Cup winners have been on the field at the same time.
61’ The exciting back and forth affair continued in the 61st minute when rookie Cyle Larin scored a comfortable finish for his second goal of the game. The play started with Darwin Ceren’s probing ball to find Rivas surging in behind. The speedy Colombian played the ball across the box to Larin who snuck it past Saunders.
63’ With the game starting to open up, Rivas broke free for another breakaway chance, opting to fire at the target but his low effort went wide of the far post.
66’ Villa secured his brace in the 66th minute after receiving Poku’s pass, hitting an effort that was deflected off the City defense and into the back of the net.
70’ New York City capitalized in a breakdown in the Lions’ defense when Poku set McNamara up for their fourth goal of the game.
74’ Mark Watson introduced veteran striker Martin Paterson for Eric Avila, as the Lions fought to battle their way back into the game.
75’ Servando Carrasco came close to providing the spark for City after receiving Kaka’s through-ball, forcing Josh Saunders to make a very difficult save at the near-post. Cyle Larin’s header on the ensuing corner-kick was cleared off the line by the NYCFC defense.
84’ Larin continued to will Orlando with every effort, blasting a superb strike into the top corner, capably beating Saunders who was left standing still to record his first professional hat-trick.
88’ Sean St. Ledger was nearly the hero for the City faithful when his diving header came close to finding the back of the net.
90’ The referee added four minutes of stoppage time, providing Orlando with hope of getting an equalizer.
92’ Kaka almost recreated his free-kick magic in stoppage time from the first meeting between both teams, hitting a set-piece from outside the box that rattled off the post. With Orlando committing numerous players forward to search for the equalizer, New York ventured on the counter with Mix Diskerud scoring the final goal for the home side.
NYC: David Villa (Angelino) 44’
ORL: Cyle Larin (Servando Carrasco) 50’
NYC: Javier Calle (Thomas McNamara) 53’
ORL: Cyle Larin (Carlos Rivas) 61’
NYC: David Villa (Poku ) 66’
NYC: Thomas McNamara (Poku) 70’
ORL: Cyle Larin (Kaka) 84’
NYC: Mix Diskerud (Poku) 93’
NYC: Mehdi Ballouchy (Yellow Card) 19’
NYC: Andrew Jacobson (Yellow Card) 57’
ORL: Carlos Rivas (Yellow Card) 81’
NYC: Andrea Pirlo (Yellow Card) 84’
ORL: Seb Hines (Yellow Card) 89’
New York City FC - GK Josh Saunders, D Andoni, Iraola, Shay Facey, Chris Wingert, Angelino, M Andrew Jacobson, Javier Calle (Mix Diskerud), Mehdi Ballouchy (Andrea Pirlo 55’), Kwadwo Poku, Thomas McNamara, F David Villa
Orlando City SC - GK Tally Hall, D Seb Hines, Aurelien Collin, Sean St. Ledger, M Corey Ashe, Eric Avila (Martin Paterson 74’) Darwin Ceren, Servando Carrasco, F Carlos Rivas (Pedro Ribeiro 81’), Cyle Larin, Kaka
Time of Match: 2:30 p.m. ET
July 26, 2015
Orlando will return to the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Saturday, August 1, when the Lions face Columbus Crew SC in an Eastern Conference matchup. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.