Robbery!! Orlando City drops match to Columbus after VAR chaotic call

**ORLANDO, FL** – Orlando City SC (4-6-4, 16 points) lost to the Columbus Crew (6-2-6, 24 points) on Saturday night in front of over 22,000 at Inter & Co Stadium.

Orlando suffered another scoreless loss, this time at the hands of Diego Rossi, who scored twice for the Crew against the Lions.

The first goal was a controversial one. Referee Jair Marrufo awarded an Orlando penalty late in the first half but then reviewed a play at the other end on the monitor. Instead of the Lions having a spot kick, Marrufo handed the Crew a highly questionable penalty, turning the game in the visitors’ favor. What made matters worse was a seemingly obvious foul on Columbus prior to the overturned no-call on Orlando, but the penalty went the Crew’s way.

At the 45+1 mark in the first half, this decision drew anger from the City fans in attendance, sucking the energy out of the stadium.

Orlando never regained their footing as Columbus played an aggressive line throughout the game, pushing forward and dominating possession. Orlando depended on its defense to hold the Columbus attacks at bay.

The loss ended a 3-game winning streak and highlighted Orlando’s scoring struggles at home, where they haven’t scored in a month.

Orlando, Florida, USA, May 25, 2024, Columbus Crew forward Diego Rossi #10 attempt to control the ball as he receives pressure at Inter&Co Stadium. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

Orlando Head Coach Oscar Pareja expressed his frustration at the game’s events and outcome.

“Well, [we’re] frustrated with the game and the result,” said Pareja. “We did not create that sensation or put those things together in the game. But when you see the game, I thought we had the chances to find it, and we couldn’t score. They [Columbus] had some, and the others I don’t want to get deeper into. A lot of moments frustrated us from decisions. That’s what we’re feeling right now, but the effort was there.”

The Crew held the halftime advantage in possession (62.5%-37.5%) and passing accuracy (92.3%-90.5%). The Lions attempted more shots (4-1) and won more corners (4-1), while each team put one shot on target.

The Lions tried to press on in the second half, getting some chances on goal, even though they relied on counters for their scoring opportunities.

Orlando, Florida, USA, May 25, 2024, Columbus Crew defender Darlington Nagbe #6 fight to keep the ball during the match at Inter&Co Stadium. (Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis)

“In the second half, we looked more unorganized,” said Ojeda. “We were not as sharp collectively as in the first half, and we ended up giving up the second goal but lowered the frequency where we could have had so many chances to score.”

“We didn’t want to change, but the game is dynamic, and we started changing our behaviors on the pitch. But we had the game in control. What happened is our team is not used to conceding so much space and domination of the ball, but against Columbus, we wanted to do it so we could have the space we created in the first half.”

In the 61st minute, Columbus extended its lead with Rossi’s second goal of the night. Aidan Morris gained control near midfield before leading Yaw Yeboah down the left side of the Orlando defensive zone. Yeboah made his way through the Lions’ defense and made a pass behind the back line to Rossi, who was able to chip a shot past goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

The final result of the night was a disappointing 2-0 score, leaving Orlando with a lot of frustration.

The Lions will next travel to face off with Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field this Wednesday, May 28.

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