Orlando City SC 1, Sporting Kansas City 0 | 2019 MLS Match Recap
Orlando nearly got on the board in the second minute, when Dom Dwyer missed a wide-open header, putting it on the wrong side of the far post. They'd eventually get there in the 21st minute, when Akindele swooped in to meet a Carlos Ascues set-up. It offset an earlier loss; defender Kyle Smith collided with Sporting 'keeper Tim Melia in the eighth minute. Smith was subbed off several minutes later, face still bleeding as a result of the come-together.
Sporting began the second half with a tactical change, abandoning an experiment in which Jimmy Medranda was deployed in the center of a three-man front line, for a more conventional center forward choice in Erik Hurtado. Another second-half sub, Benny Feilhaber, brought the visitors back to life with some near-misses, including an 83rd-minute shot that just skimmed past the far post, but wasn't able to deliver the equalizer his team was looking for. Felipe Gutierrez cleared a late-match Sacha Kljestan chip off the goal line to keep hope alive, but Orlando was able to hold on through considerable stoppage time for the win.
- 21' – ORL – Tesho Akindele | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Orlando brought themselves as close to the playoff line without actually crossing it; they're now even on points with seventh-place Montreal with 26 matches played for both teams. Should it come to goal differential, Orlando pulled even while the Impact have a -11. For SKC, the loss keeps them 10th in the West, and while they're not mathematically out of the playoffs, the math is getting harder.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The Akindele goal was the ultimate difference maker, and though Sporting's defense needed to do better to prevent the goal, it was still the product of smart passing and positioning.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Though Akindele's the most obvious choice, Orlando defender Robin Jansson deserves a Late Game Man of the Match award for giving up his body to help preserve the clean sheet late.