ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 23, 2020) - Orlando City SC (7-2-4, 25 points) battled to a 2-1 victory over Western Conference side Sporting Kansas City (6-5-2, 20 points) on Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Park. With the win, the Lions extended their unbeaten run to seven-consecutive matches, passing the previous Club-record of six set in 2018.
Tesho Akindele and Benji Michel found the back of the net for the Lions in the match, just two minutes apart from one another in the 36th and 38th minutes, respectively. Akindele’s finish served as his second of the MLS regular season, while Benji Michel netted his fourth goal in the Lions’ last five matches in the contest.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja:
“We’re very proud of the three points. The reason for the happiness that we have is that I think tonight we beat one of the best teams in the West. We know how hard it is to come here and beat Kansas [City] and get points. The first half just gave us a lot of optimism about winning the points and the game. Second half, Kansas City came out strong and I think it’s one of the things that we like the most. The effort that we had in order to have that presence in these last games…[the players] deserve it and I’m very happy for them.”
36’ Tesho Akindele (Ruan) - ORL 1, KC 0
The Lions took the lead with Ruan slotting a through ball in behind the Kansas City defense to the feet of a running Tesho Akindele, who took the angle and hit it first time into the near post for the finish.
38’ Benji Michel (Nani) - ORL 2, KC 0
City doubled its advantage just two minutes later, this time with Nani lofting a ball in behind for Benji Michel, who beat the offside trap and took a pair of touches before poking it into the back of the net.
53’ Johnny Russell (Gerso) - ORL 2, KC 1
Kansas City halved the deficit shortly after the halftime break, with Gerso whipping in a cross to the far post that found the head of Johnny Russell for the finish.
- With the win, the Lions set a Club record at seven-consecutive matches unbeaten, surpassing the previous mark of six set from March 31 to May 6 of the 2018 season.
- Tesho Akindele scored his second goal of the regular season and his third across all competitions in the match.
- Benji Michel net his fourth finish for the Lions in the 38th minute, all of which have come in City’s last five games.
- Nani recorded his fourth assist of the year in the match and his 14th since joining the Club prior to the 2019 season, tying former Lion Yoshi Yotún for third in Club history.
- Ruan recorded his second assist of the season.
- Robin Jansson registered his 40th appearance for City, while Benji Michel tallied his 30th for the Club.
- Head Coach Oscar Pareja made five changes to his starting lineup from the Lions’ last match with Kyle Smith, Rodrigo Schlegel, Benji Michel, Andrés Perea and Tesho Akindele appearing in his XI on Wednesday.
- Next Match: The Lions continue on the road, traveling to face FC Dallas on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Toyota Stadium in a match that will serve as Head Coach Oscar Pareja’s first visit to his former club.
ORL - Tesho Akindele (Ruan) 36’
ORL - Benji Michel (Nani) 38’
KC - Johnny Russell (Gerso) 53’
ORL - Rodrigo Schlegel (Yellow Card) 9’
KC - Matt Besler (Yellow Card) 24’
KC - Khiry Shelton (Yellow Card) 51’
ORL - Mauricio Pereyra (Yellow Card) 77’
ORL - Andrés Perea (Yellow Card) 78’
KC - Gadi Kinda (Yellow Card) 85’
Orlando City SC - GK Pedro Gallese; D Kyle Smith, Robin Jansson, Rodrigo Schlegel, Ruan; M Benji Michel (Chris Mueller 71’), Sebastián Méndez (Mauricio Pereyra 63’), Júnior Urso, Andrés Perea; F Tesho Akindele (Daryl Dike 71’), Nani © (Alex De John 79’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Brian Rowe; D Kamal Miller; M Jordan Bender, Joey DeZart, Robinho
Sporting Kansas City - GK Tim Melia; D Amadou Dia, Matt Besler © (Winston Reid 46’), Roberto Puncec, Graham Zusi; M Felipe Hernandez (Alan Pulido 65’), Ilie Sánchez, Gadi Kinda; F Gerso (Erik Hurtado 88’), Khiry Shelton, Johnny Russell
Substitutes Not Used: GK John Pulskamp; D Andreu Fontàs, Graham Smith, Jaylin Lindsey; M Cameron Duke, Wan Kuzian
Details of the Game:
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Date: September 23, 2020
KC - 56.6%
ORL - 43.4%
KC - 16
ORL - 8
KC - 1
ORL - 1
KC - 18
ORL - 16
KC - 13
ORL - 1
Heineken Star of the Match: Nani