MATCH RECAP: Dominant Defensive Performance Earns Lions Point in Colorado

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MATCH RECAP: Dominant Defensive Performance Earns Lions Point in Colorado
City earns fifth consecutive road result against second-place Rapids.

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (August 20, 2016) Orlando City SC (5-6-13, 28 points) put out a dominant defensive performance to earn a clean sheet and collect a point with a 0-0 draw against the second-place Colorado Rapids (11-3-10, 43 points) on Saturday evening at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The draw elevates the Lions above the red line and into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

“For us it was an important game because in the three games since the new coaching staff took over we have allowed six goals and we’ve been harping on our team to be better defensively, but haven’t had the stats to back it up. So tonight to get a shutout on the road was hugely important for us,” Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “There have been a few tactical things [defensively] that we are talking about doing in different phases of the match and on different positions of the field, and tonight I saw some real clear indications that the guys are getting it now, and they are starting to do it. I think we are heading in a positive direction.”

Orlando showcased the defensive work emphasized in training over the past couple of weeks in front of over 200 Iron Lion Firm and Ruckus supporters, who traveled for the match. The Lions combined for 23 clearances and stopped the Rapids from scoring on any of their eight shots. Goalkeeper Joe Bendik only had to make one save.

City’s improved defense frustrated Colorado with strong challenges and timely clearances throughout the match. In the 16th minute, David Mateos made a sliding block on a shot from Kevin Doyle inside the box. Then in the 30th minute, Aja denied Marlon Hairston’s dangerous look inside the box, stopping the speedy attacker as he attempted to dribble for a shot.

Uruguayan center back José Aja made his first career MLS start in his second appearance. Left back Mikey Ambrose, who was signed from Orlando City B on Aug. 4, made his first career MLS start in his debut. Antonio Nocerino returned to the starting lineup after missing the last game due to suspension and Júlio Baptista started for the first time since July 23. Homegrown center back Tommy Redding made his second consecutive appearance after missing six games with injury.

Orlando City became just the fourth team in 13 games to take a point in Colorado. It was the Lions’ third clean sheet of the season and their fifth consecutive result on the road.

City faces a short turnaround when it returns to Camping World Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 24, to host Toronto FC for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff. Just four days later, the Lions host New York City in a nationally televised game.

Tickets to all City home matches are available at OrlandoCitySC.com or by calling 855-ORL-CITY. Follow the latest Orlando City news and updates via Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and YouTube.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS:

First Half

6’ Orlando City continues controlling long spells of possession, working the ball largely through Kaká on the left wing with Mikey Ambrose and Cyle Larin.

16’ David Mateos makes a sliding block on a shot from Kevin Doyle inside the Lions’ box.

19’ Mateos makes another strong challenge on the ball, thwarting a Rapids counterattack up the right wing.

20’ Joe Bendik punches a centering feed safely out of the box before catching another one in a crowd.

21’ Cyle Larin fights off two Colorado defenders two earn Orlando’s first corner of the game. Antonio Nocerino makes a clever move to keep the ball in the attacking third before crossing it into Brek Shea, who heads the ball on goal.

25’ Joe Bendik somehow keeps the ball outside the goal after a Colorado corner service fell free at the far post.

30’ José Aja sticks his foot into Marlon Hairston as he dribbled into the box, easily clearing away a dangerous look.

36’ Mateos makes another last second stop, diving in and blocking a threatening Kevin Doyle shot.

39’ Shea scoops up a loose ball behind the Rapids back line and fires a curling shot that is handled by Tim Howard.

45 (+1)’ After one minute of added time, the referee indicates the end of the first half. Orlando City 0, Colorado Rapids 0.

Second Half:

46’ Cyle Larin does well to sprint onto a ball on the right wing, turn the corner and force a corner kick.

54’ Bendik dives to his left to parry a deflected shot out for a corner kick. On the ensuing kick, Bendik dives on a loose ball inside his six-yard box to stop the attack.

59’ Bendik comes out to make another catch as the Rapids had three in the box for a centering pass from the left wing.

63’ Matías Pérez García enters the match in place of Júlio Baptista.

68’ A well positioned Mikey Ambrose heads away a centering feed to stop a Rapids attack.

71’ Tony Rocha enters the match in place of Servando Carrasco.

74’ Kaká receives a pass, dribbles to the middle before firing a shot wide.

76’ Tommy Redding enters the match in place of José Aja.

78’ Matías Pérez García collects the ball and flicks it up to Cyle Larin, who drives a left-footed shot just inches over the bar.

90’ Larin controls a long ball from Alston and fires from outside the box, but his shot goes over the bar.

90 (+2)’ Rocha nearly gives the Lions the lead, dribbling his way into the edge of the box and striking a shot that goes inches wide of the post.

90 (+5)’ Hairston recovers a ball in midfield and charges on the counter. The winger sends a dangerous delivery to the box but Nocerino slides to block it.

90 (+5)’ After five minutes of added time, the referee ends the match. Orlando City 0, Colorado Rapids 0.

Teams 1 2 F
Orlando City SC 0 0 0
Colorado Rapids 0 0 0

Scoring Summary:

None.

Misconduct Summary:
COL
– Kevin Doyle (Yellow Card) 43’
ORL – José Aja (Yellow Card) 43’
ORL – David Mateos (Yellow Card) 65’
ORL – Brek Shea (Yellow Card) 79’

Lineups/Substitutions:

Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Mikey Ambrose, David Mateos, José Aja (Tommy Redding 76’), Kevin Alston, M Servando Carrasco (Tony Rocha 71’), Antonio Nocerino, Brek Shea, Kaká, F Júlio Baptista (Matías Pérez García 63’), Cyle Larin

Substitutes Not Used: GK Earl Edwards Jr., D Luke Boden, F Carlos Rivas, Hadji Barry

Colorado Rapids – GK Tim Howard, D Marc Burch, Axel Sjöberg, Bobby Burling, Eric Miller, M Sam Cronin (Micheal Azila 81’), Dillon Powers, Sébastien Le Toux (Marco Pappa 75’), Shkëlzen Gashi, Marlon Hairston, F Kevin Doyle (Dominique Badji 90’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Zac MacMath, D Mekeil Williams, Jared Watts, Dennis Castillo

Details of the Game:
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Weather: Clear
August 20, 2016
Attendance: 16,813

Stats:

Possession:
ORL –
51 %
COL – 49 %

Shots:
ORL –
7
COL – 13

Saves:
ORL –
1
COL – 2

Fouls:
ORL –
9
COL – 8

Corners:
ORL –
3
COL – 8

About Orlando City SC:

After winning three USL-Pro Championships over a four-year span, Orlando City SC quickly set the standard for professional soccer clubs, both on and off the field, and was awarded the 21st franchise in Major League Soccer (MLS) on Nov. 19, 2013. The Club began MLS play in Central Florida in 2015, setting league attendance records for an expansion side in its first season and has welcomed over 60,000 fans for consecutive season-opening matches in 2015 and 2016. The Lions, who currently hold the second highest average attendance in the league, will begin play in a privately funded, state-of-the-art downtown stadium in the 2017 MLS season.

Orlando City SC also operates Orlando Pride of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and Orlando City B of the United Soccer League (USL), which both began play in 2016. For more information visit www.orlandocitysc.com, www.orlandopride.com or www.orlandocityb.com.

Editor’s Note: B-roll footage from the match, including post game comments from head coach Jason Kreis (3:18), Júlio Baptista (Spanish) (1:02), Matías Pérez García (Spanish) (1:56) and Tommy Redding (English) (2:45), can be found here.

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