Orlando City SC 3, Portland Timbers 2 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
Orlando City's run of late heroics continued on Sunday afternoon as Dom Dwyer's 87th minute strike capped a ferocious 3-2 comeback win for the Lions, who trailed the Portland Timbers by two goals as late as the 80th minute.
The drama didn't start with Orlando's comeback, though. The first major talking point of the game came in the the 16th minute as Portland midfielder Sebastian Blanco was initially shown his second yellow card for a dive after going down under pressure from Orlando's Mohamed El-Munir in the penalty area. The play was reviewed for a potential penalty kick, which was subsequently awarded by referee Baldomero Toledo and converted by Diego Valeri, while Blanco was granted a reprieve.
The Timbers hit the woodwork twice in the opening four minutes of the second half and looked to be cruising following Bill Tuiloma's first MLS goal, off a Valeri free kick not long after. However, Orlando grabbed one back in the 80th minute as rookie Chris Mueller headed in a first MLS goal of his own and found themselves level just two minutes later after Sacha Kljestan converted a penalty kick drawn by Dwyer.
Just eight minutes after his team was down by two goals, Dwyer netted a second game-winning goal in as many games, keeping his balance in the area before turning and slotting past Jake Gleeson with his weaker right foot to cap a strong individual effort.
- 20' – POR – Diego Valeri | WATCH
- 59' – POR – Bill Tuiloma | WATCH
- 80' – ORL – Chris Mueller | WATCH
- 82' – ORL – Sacha Kljestan | WATCH
- 87' – ORL – Dom Dwyer | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: After another remarkable comeback, Orlando moved into the top six of the Eastern Conference and put together consecutive wins for the first time in a four-game streak that spanned April of last year. Still, questions remain as they played a listless first half and trailed 2-0 into the 80th minute. For Portland, a respectable end to a five-game, season-opening road swing vanished in the blink of an eye, but they can look forward to returning to a newly-renovated Providence Park for the first time in 2018.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: There were plenty of memorable moments in this one, but the one that most influenced the result of the match was the penalty call on Alvas Powell for a shove on Dwyer just a minute after the Lions had cut into Portland's advantage. Referee Baldomero Toledo saw enough contact on Dwyer to award the penalty, which was not reviewed, and Sacha Kljestan converted to bring Orlando level and set the table for Dwyer's winner.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Dwyer's relentless play all game long was rewarded in the late stages of the match. He drew the penalty for Orlando's leveler, then kept his cool – and his balance – to fire home another memorable game-winner.