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Orlando City SC 0, FC Dallas 2 | MLS Match Recap

ORLANDO, Fla. – Mauro Diaz and Fabian Castillo continued their flourishing one-two act for FC Dallas at the Citrus Bowl on Saturday, as they combined to lead Oscar Pareja’s men to an emphatic 2-0 win over Orlando City SC in a battle of two shorthanded teams.

The attacking duo had been the main destroyers against New England and Houston in Dallas' previous two wins, and both were prominent in both goals for the visitors.

Castillo opened the doors to victory in first-half stoppage time as he twisted and turned in the City penalty box before being brought down by Cristian Higuita, with Diaz emphatically converting the spot-kick.

Then it was Castillo again in the 64th minute, unlocking the Orlando rearguard with a delightful pass to Victor Ulloa, who first-timed his low cross from the left to the edge of the six-yard box, where David Texeira gave Tally Hall no chance with his side-footed finish.

Working without their suspended leading scorer Kaká, who was serving a one-game ban, the Lions thought they had equalized shortly before Texeira’s strike. But Pedro Ribeiro’s low finish was chalked off for offside, and ultimately the home team looked short of ideas without their captain as they crashed to their first home defeat in six games.

City head coach Adrian Heath pulled a pregame surprise out of his sleeve by naming his son, Harrison, in the starting XI for the first time at home – and only the second time in his rookie MLS career – in place of the expected Amobi Okugo.

The Lions could also name only four outfielders on the bench as injuries, the suspension of Kaká and internationals off on Gold Cup duty continued to bite hard, while Dallas themselves were missing five men to national-team call-ups.

With fit men at a premium, the last thing Heath needed was another injury, but that was exactly what transpired on 41 minutes as defensive stalwart Sean St. Ledger succumbed to an early shoulder problem and had to make way for Aurelien Collin, himself freshly recovered from a hamstring strain.

Having conceded the penalty on the stroke of halftime, Orlando wasted no time in changing things around for the second period, bringing Okugo on for Heath alongside Higuita in the defensive midfield role and pushing Lewis Neal forward.

That freed Ribeiro to take over as target man up front from Carlos Rivas, with the Colombian reverting to his more usual left wing role.

Immediately, the home team looked more threatening, with Rivas and Luke Boden linking well out wide and Rivas running at the Dallas defense for the first time.

It almost paid off on 56 minutes as the winger cut inside and found Ribeiro in space, with the big Brazilian slotting calmly past Dan Kennedy from 16 yards, but Orlando’s delight was cut short by the assistant referee’s flag.

Eight minutes later, Dallas applied the coup de grace as the lively Castillo again got free to make the vital contribution, showing a keen eye for the killer pass.

City might have claimed a consolation goal in the 89th minute when Kennedy flattened Ribeiro to concede the second penalty of the game, but Rivas missed woefully high and wide with his spot kick.

And the home team’s frustration was completed in stoppage time, as Boden picked up his second yellow card of the final 15 minutes to earn the team their second red card in as many games.

Orlando stay at home for their next test, with the challenge of New York Red Bulls next Saturday, while Dallas return to Toyota Stadium and the visit of Eastern Conference leaders D.C. United the same evening.

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