Orlando first playoff win was a wild one!

Orlando City SC players celebrate first playoff win at Exploria Stadium in Orlando Florida on Saturday November 21, 2020. Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis

ORLANDO, FL – Orlando City SC won their first MLS playoff game on Saturday by defeating rival NYCFC in a penalty kick shootout round after a 1-1 draw in regulation time. This brings Orlando to Round Two of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.

The 9-man squad beat the pigeons 6-5 in PK’s after Benji Michel put one in for the Lions.

The insane part is what happened earlier in the penalty kicks.

First, Maxi Moralez hit the crossbar with the first shot of the penalty shootout, giving Orlando an advantage to start the round.

Later, Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese was issued his second yellow card. After what seemed like a game-winning save on Valentin Castellanos during NYCFC’s fifth attempt. 

Orlando City SC players Goalkeeper makes a save at Exploria Stadium in Orlando Florida on Saturday November 21, 2020. Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis

But Gallese was judged to have come off his line too early and was shown a yellow card. The Peruvian goalkeeper had already been shown a yellow card for time-wasting in the second extra-time period.

Orlando tried to insert back up goalkeeper Brian Rowe, but that was refused as in the penalty round, you must use the players that are on the field.

Center back Rodrigo Schlegel replaced Gallese in goal and allowed Valentin Castellanos to tie the shootout at 4-4 with one Orlando shooter remaining.

Nani was up next, and his shot was saved by New York goalkeeper Sean Johnson, making the round a 4-4 tie, causing sudden death.

Schlegel came through with a heroic, diving save on a  Gudmundur Thórarinsson shot, knocking it off of the left post.

Benji Michel made the ensuing penalty , giving Orlando the win, and advancing them to the playoffs.

Orlando City SC player Benji MIchelle #19 celebrate first playoff win at Exploria Stadium in Orlando Florida on Saturday November 21, 2020. Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis

Orlando got on the board first in the 5th minute when Nani deposited a penalty kick. The chance was called after NYCFC right back Anton Tinnerholm blocked a Nani header with his raised right arm, which led to referee Allen Chapman pointing to the spot.

NYCFC answered right back, though, when Jesus Medina whipped in a corner kick from the left, and Maxime Chanot powered home a header from close range in the 8th minute to draw the game level at 1-1. 

The game then flipped on its head in the 87th minute when Orlando right back Ruan was shown a straight red card for violent conduct, reducing the Lions to 10 men. After a strong challenge from Gary Mackay-Steven, the Brazilian lashed out with a kick into the winger’s midsection.

New York was unable to take advantage of Orlando being one man down, even in the two extra 15-minute periods.

“I think we need more time to calm down and reflect [on] what happened tonight,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “The analysis of the game may wait for tomorrow when we can analyze the soccer side. What just happened at the end, I never saw it before. And this is the beauty of this game…but today the ball bounced our way.

“We are proud to win and beat one of the best teams in Major League Soccer with 10 men on the field,”

I think we deserve it, after a difficult game with a lot of emotional moments during the game.” Nani said. “I think our team did great. We wanted to win from the first minute. We worked so hard during this week to prepare ourselves to be able to perform well. And our fans were amazing.”

Orlando awaits the winner of the New England Revolution – Philadelphia Union match on Sunday night for Round 2 on Sunday November 29.

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