Orlando City SC 0, DC United 1 | MLS Match Recap
ORLANDO, Fla. -- For the second successive home game, Orlando City SC suffered stoppage-time heartbreak as they allowed D.C. United to steal away with three points from the latest of goals. And for the second successive game, D.C. United won with a very late goal.
After Vancouver pulled off the trick with a 96th-minute winner two weeks ago, D.C. substitute Luis Silva stepped up with a bending 25-yard free kick that beat the City wall and Donovan Ricketts’ despairing dive in the 91st minute.
In truth, though, the real United hero was goalkeeper Bill Hamid. Both sides carved out some gilt-edged chances in a surprisingly open game but Hamid was much the busier of the two keepers and came up big repeatedly to leave the Lions frustrated and still looking for their first home win of the season.
He thwarted Rafael Ramos and Kevin Molino in quick succession in the first half, dived to hold on to a dangerous Cyle Larin header and went full-length to deny a Carlos Rivas long-distance scorcher in the second period.
On the few occasions he might have been left helpless, Orlando’s finishing proved woeful, as Larin, Molino and Rivas all failed to hit the target when given a clean sight of goal.
At the other end, a counterattacking United were left shaking their heads as Brek Shea somehow cleared off the line from Chris Pontius, who had the whole goal at his mercy, while Ricketts reacted smartly to tip sub Conor Doyle’s follow-up header over the bar.
Despite the wealth of attacking talent at his disposal again after injuries and international call-ups, City head coach Adrian Heath made changes just to his back four and midfield from the team that drew 2-2 at Montreal last Saturday, with full backs Ramos and Shea both returning, along with midfield duo Molino and Darwin Ceren.
By contrast, United’s Ben Olsen named the side that played most of Saturday’s 1-0 win over LA, with Kofi Opare retaining his spot in central defence for Steve Birnbaum, who suffered a serious ankle sprain after just five minutes against the Galaxy.
Heath had to turn to one of his attacking options much sooner than he would have liked as recent goal hero Pedro Ribeiro went down after just 19 minutes holding his hamstring, leading to an extended run up front for No.1 SuperDraft pick Larin.
And the Canadian injected some immediate life into a fairly moribund affair as he started to put the visiting defense under some pressure for the first time and got on the end of an increasing number of chances.
Inevitably, Brazilian star Kaká was at the heart of almost everything from the home side, finding space through the middle for some surging runs and searching passes. The best found Molino running in on goal unattended but Hamid was quickly at his feet to block, while Kaká’s inviting ball in to Larin deserved better than the subsequent shot off target.
Larin then headed a Molino cross at Hamid to confirm the keeper’s dominant half, which also saw him stone Ramos at close range from a superb Molino pass. The one time Hamid was beaten, Molino could only hammer the outside of the post from one of Shea’s many tantalizing crosses.
Chris Rolfe almost made Orlando pay for their profligacy deep in first-half stoppage time but his angled far-post volley drifted just wide of the opposite upright with Ricketts helpless to intervene.
In the end, it was left to Silva to grab the win for United, playing his first minutes of the season as a 75th-minute sub.
City will look to get back on track next Sunday with a long trip to Portland while United face another challenge from Atlantic Cup rivals New York Red Bulls next Saturday, but this time at home after losing their only game to date, 2-0 in New York on March 22.