Tonight’s tilt marked only the 3rd meeting between the teams, not quite fitting into Heineken Rivalry Week theme, but whatever. Each time these teams meet, the headliner is obviously Kaka. Recently acquired Dom Dwyer would again meet up with Caps defender Kendall Waston, whom have had some battles dating back to Dwyer’s days with Sporting. It also marked the end of a 3 game week, in which the Caps hoped to sandwich the midweek draw with another win. Unless you’re an Orlando supporter, tonight’s match didn’t disappoint.
As usual, it was a hot and muggy night at Orlando City Stadium. As most supporters who pay attention to tendancies, they should’ve have been surprised Robbo trotted out a very heavily rotated squad, with only Harvey and Waston keeping their starting spots.
After an initial feeling out period, a free kick setup by a Higuita foul on Hurtado, gave Mezquida the opportunity to put the ball into the box for the likes of Waston and Shea. However, a backpedalling Tommy Redding rose in front of Waston to head the ball in for an own goal, giving the Caps an early 1-0 lead.
10 minutes later, Ibini was sent in on the right wing, after taking a feed from Nerwinski, but just slashed his shot over the net.
VAR Edvin Jurisevic was called into action just after the half hour mark, wanting a further look at a mad scramble in the Caps defensive 18 in which a few Orlando players were calling for a handball on Harvey. Nothing came from that and the Caps went to the half up by 1.
To start the 2nd half, Canadian national teamer Cyle Larin entered the game for Carlos Rivas, who was just dreadful for Orland, however, 8 minutes in, a quick transition started by Hurtado, who fed Shea to his left, who calmly clipped it over a falling Bendik to give the visitors a 2-0 lead.
Orlando cut the lead in half after a Larin header off of a Yotun cross in the 62nd minute. The goal allowed the Caps to bring in Davies for Mezquida. Minutes later, Robbo introduced Montero for Hurtado, in what appeared to be an attempt for a kill shot.
Davies nearly sealed the match in the 68th, however, he just put in high and wide, off of a feed from Ibini. The Caps final substitution sees Ibini make way for Reyna is what can only be considered Robbo throwing down the proverbial hammer.
Orlando almost equalizes on another mad scramble in the 18, but the Caps stay lucky. Teibert stayed down for a while after taking Powers’ cleats to the ribs, but managed to stay in the game as Robbo had used all 3 subs already.
OC comes close again with Barnes hammering one off the post. Marinovic came up huge again, on a play that was ruled offside with Dwyer heading one from close range, which was palmed away.
The Caps would come close many times, however, were unable to definitely put the Lions away and managed to see out the game. Heading into the international break after claiming 7 of 9 points in a triple game week has to have Robbo and the fanbase in a pretty good mindset.