ORLANDO, Fla. (March 3, 2018) – In the first match of its fourth Major League Soccer (MLS) season, Orlando City SC (0-0-1, 1 point) secured a point with a 1-1 draw after Stéfano Pinho’s stoppage-time equalizer against D.C. United (0-0-1, 1 point) on Saturday at Orlando City Stadium. Captain Jonathan Spector earned the game-tying assist while goalkeeper Joe Bendik made four saves.
“Really, really pleased with the effort level, the commitment level, the togetherness the team showed. The never giving up. The true grit that was shown tonight by our squad was second-to-none,” Lions head coach Jason Kreis said. “We out-possessed D.C. United on a night where we were down a man for 60 minutes. I think that says something. I do believe there’s still lots of room for improvement. Obviously. It’s a first night. But as I said before, couldn’t be happier with it. Absolutely take it.”
Orlando City began with strong possession through the first 15 minutes as Meram and rookie Chris Mueller, also in his first match with City, showed strong chemistry with Peruvian international Yoshimar Yotún up top.
D.C. was awarded a penalty kick upon Video Review, however, after it was determined Will Johnson handled the ball in the box. Bendik made a spectacular save on Darren Mattocks, reaching out with his right arm as he dove to his left to deflect the ball off the bar and post. Video Review went against City again in the 41st minute when PC was issued a red card after initially being shown a yellow.
United went ahead when Yamil Asad scored on a free kick in the 32nd minute.
Urged on by another sell-out crowd of 25,527 purple clad supporters, the Lions continued pressing throughout the match and controlled nearly 60 percent possession despite being short-handed from the first half on. Promising attempts from Mueller and Meram went wide and a driven first-time shot from Yotún was blocked off the line.
But in traditional Orlando City Opening Day fashion, the Lions equalized in the dying seconds. Meram fed Spector’s run into the box and the Captain cut it back for Pinho to power inside the far post.
Orlando City’s Opening Day record is now (1-0-3), with three draws secured with four stoppage-time goals across four seasons.
The Lions return to action on Saturday, March 10, when Minnesota United FC makes its first visit to Orlando City Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
- Orlando City’s all-time record vs. D.C. United improves to 4-3-1
The Lions are unbeaten in their last four matches against D.C. United (3-0-1)
- Seven players (Mohamed El-Munir, Amro Tarek, Cam Lindley, Justin Meram, Chris Mueller, Stéfano Pinho, RJ Allen) made their Orlando City SC debuts. It is City’s second-most debutants in a single game since the inaugural MLS match on March 8, 2015
- Cam Lindley and Chris Mueller made their professional debuts
- Mohamed El-Munir became the first Libyan to ever play in MLS
- Stéfano Pinho now has four goals in two matches at Orlando City Stadium,
- including the first-ever hat trick on June 14, 2017 with Miami FC
The game was the second sold-out (25,527) Home Opener in two years at Orlando City Stadium and third overall (2015 at Orlando Citrus Bowl with over 62,000 fans) in four MLS seasons. The 2016 season opener at Orlando Citrus Bowl saw a crowd of 60,147
DC - Yamil Asad 32’
ORL - Stéfano Pinho (Jonathan Spector, Justin Meram) 90+3’
ORL - Cam Lindley (Yellow Card) 31’
ORL - PC (Red Card) 41’
DC - Steve Birnbaum (Yellow Card) 45+1’
DC - Darren Mattocks (Yellow Card) 45+6’
DC - Nick DeLeon (Yellow Card) 47’
ORL - Yoshimar Yotún (Yellow Card) 81’
Orlando City SC - GK Joe Bendik, D Mohamed El-Munir, Amro Tarek, ⓒ Jonathan Spector, Scott Sutter (RJ Allen 81’), M Cam Lindley (Richie Laryea 66’), PC, Will Johnson, Yoshimar Yotún, F Justin Meram, Chris Mueller (Stéfano Pinho 58’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Earl Edwards, Jr., D Lamine Sané, Donny Toia, M Tony Rocha
D.C. United - GK David Ousted, D Frédéric Brillant, ⓒ Nick DeLeon, Oniel Fisher, M Júnior Moreno, Paul Arriola, Ulises Segura, Zoltán Stieber (Ian Harkes 60’), F Darren Mattocks (Patrick Mullins 85’), Yamil Asad (Chris Durkin 73’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Steve Clark, D Chris Odoi-Atsem, Kofi Opare, F Bruno Miranda
Details of the Game:
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Date: March 3, 2018
ORL - 59.1%
DC - 40.9%
ORL - 13
DC - 14
ORL - 4
DC - 1
ORL - 14
DC - 15
ORL - 2
DC - 6