Orlando City Soccer Club won its first-ever game as a Major League Soccer (MLS) club as they beat Houston 1-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium. The goal came on the 74th minute mark as second half substitute Pedro Ribeiro forced the ball home after a mistake by Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
Deric’s took too much time on the ball as the oncoming Brazilian striker closed the keeper down. Ribeiro managed to get a block on the ball that sent it looping back towards goal as the desperate Dric tried to rectify his mistake. It was Ribeiro who won the race though as he nodded the ball into the open net to give Orlando a 1-0 lead.
The game itself lacked a cutting edge as few chances were created.
Orlando went the closest in the opening exchanges as first Kevin Molino went close in the 2nd minute and Carlos Rivas hit a snap shot just over the bar in the 15th minute. Moments before the halftime whistle, Molino was brought down just outside the 18-yard-box after skillfully weaving past two Dynamo defenders. Kaká stepped up to take the ensuing set-piece, hoping to recreate his stoppage time magic from the Lions’ opening fixture against New York. The Brazilian hit a curling effort that seemed destined to find the top corner, but Tyler Deric in the Houston goal made a superb finger-tip save to push the goal bound effort wide.
After the half time break, Orlando continued to create the better chances as the influential Lewis Neal dragged an effort wide on 51 minutes. The best chance of the game came in the 64th minute as Kaká charged down the left side, flicking the ball over a sliding Dynamo defender, before bursting into the box. The Brazilian still had plenty to do from a tight angle but the Houston keeper managed to deny the striker as he blocked the shot with his legs.
The game defining moment then arrived in the 74th minute as Ribeiro sealed the important first MLS win milestone for Orlando.
“I thought tonight we started to play the football the way we can, and some of our play at times was excellent,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I didn’t think the goal was going to come but eventually it did. It wasn’t the greatest goal or the prettiest he’s (Ribeiro) scored, but I can honestly say it’s probably one of the most important for us.”
Orlando City SC – GK Donovan Ricketts, D Rafael Ramos, Sean St. Ledger, Seb Hines, Brek Shea, M Kevin Molino, Darwin Cerén, Kaká (Eric Avila 81’), Amobi Okugo, Lewis Neal, F Carlos Rivas (Pedro Ribeiro 54’)
Houston Dynamo – GK Tyler Deric, D Kofie Sarkodie, David Horst, Jermaine Taylor, DeMarcus Beasley, M Leonel Miranda (Will Bruin 52’), Ricardo Clark, Luis Garrido, Brad Davis, F Boniek Garcia, Giles Barnes
ORL – 5
HOU – 4
ORL – 13
HOU – 13
ORL – 1
HOU – 0
ORL – 3
HOU – 6
ORL – 0
HOU – 3
Orlando’s next match is against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on March 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
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