Orlando City falls 3-2 to Minnesota FC

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 9, 2024) – In a riveting showdown at INTER&Co Stadium, Orlando City SC (0-2-1, 1 point) tasted defeat against Minnesota United FC (2-0-1, 7 points) on Saturday night. Despite Duncan McGuire’s heroics, who etched his name in the annals of Club history with a lightning-fast goal just 13 seconds into the match, the Lions succumbed to the Loons, concluding with a scoreline favoring the visitors, 3-2.

Feb 29, 2024; Orlando, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions roared into action mere moments after the kickoff, with Rafael Santos intercepting a pass in the midfield. Santos swiftly initiated an offensive maneuver, delivering a precise pass to Duncan McGuire lurking in the box. McGuire, with a deft touch, buried the ball past Dayne St. Clair, securing the fastest goal in the Club’s history. Santos’ timely assist marked his first of the year, amplifying the jubilation coursing through the stadium.

McGuire’s spectacular performance saw him notching two goals during the contest, marking his first pair of regular-season goals for the year and his third across all competitions. His opening salvo shattered the previous record set by former forward Tesho Akindele, whose strike at :31 on May 1, 2021, against FC Cincinnati had stood as the benchmark. McGuire’s feat also etched itself into the annals of MLS history, tying for the fifth-fastest goal ever scored in the league.

However, Minnesota United swiftly retaliated, as Teemu Pukki capitalized on a defensive lapse to level the score just three minutes later. Pukki capitalized on a blocked clearance from goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, displaying composure as he slotted the ball into the vacant net.

The Loons surged ahead late in the first half, with Pukki notching his second goal of the night. Robin Lod’s well-timed pass found Pukki in prime position, unleashing a shot that ricocheted off the post and past Pedro Gallese, propelling Minnesota into the lead.

Orlando City displayed resilience, mustering an equalizer in the 83rd minute. Martín Ojeda orchestrated a brilliant play, releasing McGuire into space down the right flank. With precision, McGuire rifled a shot with his right foot, finding the bottom left corner of the net, reigniting hope among the Lions faithful.

Nevertheless, the Loons dashed Orlando City’s aspirations in second-half extra time, as Tani Oluwaseyi orchestrated a decisive play, unlocking Bongokuhle Hlongwane behind the Lions’ defensive line. Hlongwane exhibited composure, evading Gallese’s reach to secure the winning goal.

Reflecting on the match, Orlando City’s head coach acknowledged the emotional rollercoaster the game encapsulated, expressing disappointment in the outcome. However, he underscored the imperative of bouncing back swiftly, acknowledging the unforgiving nature of the schedule ahead.

Looking forward, the Lions will embark on a daunting journey to Monterrey, Mexico, for the second leg of their Round of 16 encounter with Tigres UANL in the Concacaf Champions Cup. Set to clash at Estadio Universitario, also known as El Volcán, on Tuesday, March 12, the Lions brace themselves for another arduous battle, seeking redemption under the glaring lights of the stadium. The match promises to be a spectacle, with fans eagerly anticipating every moment of the action, slated to be broadcasted on FS1.

Back to top button