Orlando City SC Goals: Urso 7', Akindele 90+6'
New York City Football Club Goals: Moralez 53'
New York City Football Club suffered an injury-time defeat on the road at Orlando City on Sunday. Nick Cushing’s side fell to Tesho Akindele’s 96th-minute header at Exploria Stadium after Maxi Moralez’s fifth goal against the Lions had canceled out Júnior Urso’s seventh-minute opener. A drama-filled clash was contested in torrid weather conditions with an Antônio Carlos red card also overturned just after the break.
Meeting for the 21st time in all competitions – the most either side has met a single opponent in their respective histories – the pair are familiar foes, having both entered MLS in 2015.
New York had shaded the most recent encounters heading into the latest clash, unbeaten in our last five straight regular season games in Orlando, as well as all bar one of our previous 11 meetings.
Interim Head Coach Nick Cushing made just one change to the side that defeated Chicago Fire last time out as Moralez returned from a lower-body injury, replacing the suspended Santiago Rodríguez, who missed out through yellow card accumulation. New recruit Matías Pellegrini was named on the bench.
Leading the shut-out standings with 13 this season, captain Sean Johnson was the first goalkeeper called into action, collecting Wilder Cartagena’s effort from distance, but there was nothing the NYCFC skipper could do about the opening goal on seven minutes.
It was Urso who broke the deadlock for Orlando, playing a neat one-two with Facundo Torres before unleashing a powerful half-volley into the top corner, with a VAR check confirming the Brazilian Midfielder had been onside.
Seeking a quick response, Moralez lofted a delightful long ball to Talles Magno – only for the Forward to lose his footing at the crucial moment, as both sides struggled with the inclement weather of heavy rain.
As puddles pooled across the field, Thiago Martins was forced off midway through the first half with an injury, replaced by Tayvon Gray, who deputized well in centre defense.
The home side pressed in search of a second goal before the half-hour mark. Urso had two efforts in quick succession – the first curled wide and the second was batted away by Johnson – before Torres blazed over.
In the final minutes of the half, Gray produced a superb piece of defending to thwart Ercan Kara, who also headed over, while Talles sliced wide of the mark at the other end in the last major chance of the opening 45.
Though the storm calmed, there was immediate drama after the restart with a red card shown and then overturned when Nicolás Acevedo was caught by Carlos.
Fired up for the second period, New York grabbed an equalizer on 53 minutes – Moralez slotting coolly past Pedro Gallese from Thiago’s inch-perfect through-ball to continue his impressive scoring form against Orlando.
With both sides chasing maximum points, Moralez, Torres, Ruan and Kyle Smith all fired off target, while Johnson denied Iván Angulo from range in injury time as Orlando mounted late pressure.
Just as it looked as though the two teams would have to settle for a share of the spoils, Akindele rose highest to nod home Angulo’s corner and snatch all three points, closing the gap on third-placed NYCFC to six in the Eastern Conference standings.
Next up for New York City Football Club is a meeting with D.C. United on Wednesday, August 31. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. (YES App/NYCFC.com/Radio).