NYCFC falls to Orlando City, 3-1, in second group stage match 

NYCFC fell to Orlando City, 3-1, on Tuesday evening.|Art or Photo Credit: AP

Alex Ring brought up 100 MLS appearances in an NYCFC side which showed three changes from the opening day defeat vs. Philadelphia last time out.

In came Jesus Medina, Gudmundur Thórarinsson and Maxime Chanot in place of Maxi Moralez, Keaton Parks and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.

Parks and Tajouri-Shradi dropped to the bench, while Maxi Moralez missed out altogether with a quad injury which could see him miss several weeks.

With lightning in the area, kickoff was delayed by 10 minutes and it was Orlando who warmed to the task quicker when the match did finally get under way, racing into a two-goal lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Chris Mueller notched the opener from a set-piece on 4’, before doubling his and Orlando’s tally on 10’ with a finish from close range, leaving NYCFC in big trouble early on.

The response from the Boys in Blue was a good one, with Maxime Chanot only narrowly missing with a header from a set-piece and Taty Castellanos twice going close after finding himself in good positions in the opening 30’.

When NYCFC’s first MLS goal of the season did finally arrive to halve the deficit, it was one of the highest quality.

On 38’, Héber touched on a pass to Medina on the edge of the area and the Paraguayan chested it down and struck an unstoppable half volley into the top corner for his 10th MLS goal and one of the goals of the tournament so far.

Back in touch, Ronny Deila brought Tajouri-Shradi on at the half, while Alexandru Mitriță and Keaton Parks also joined the charge at the midway point of the second period.

James Sands crashed a shot into the side netting and Tajouri-Shradi forced a save from Pedro Gallese as the pressure mounted from the Boys in Blue.

Gallese was increasingly busy as the game’s final straight approached, making a double save from Parks and Castellanos on 77’ to keep his side one goal ahead.

Those saves proved to be key on 81’ when Orlando restored their two-goal advantage through Tesho Akindele’s close range header.

In 10 minutes of stoppage-time, Gary Mackay-Steven came off the bench and forced another stop from Gallese and Mitriță struck the crossbar with a long range effort but NYC couldn’t find another reply.

City will now have to rely on results elsewhere and a big win in the final game vs. Inter Miami next Monday to be in with a chance of advancing.