Orlando Falls to NYCFC 4-2, Loses Goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar

New York, NY- Orlando City SC (5-9-6, 21 points) lost to New York City FC (10-8-2, 32 points) at Yankee Stadium on Friday night by a 4-2 scoreline.

Orlando, still battling against mental errors that lead to opponent chances, came to the speedy narrow pitch at Yankee Stadium to face an NYCFC team that was also looking to keep their winning ways going.

Dagur Dan Thórhallsson against NYCFC at Yankee Stadium in New York. Photo by Mark Thor

Orlando, coming off a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Fire last week, showed offensive prowess but still needed to overcome errors.

The Lions started the match fighting off an aggressive New York attack, with Mason Stajduhar manning the goal. Stajduhar had a record-breaking performance against Chicago with 11 saves, giving the Orlando side confidence in his standing in for Pedro Gallese, who is on international duty.

Things got started in the 15th minute when Santiago Rodríguez received a ball from the 18-yard box from Alonso Martínez and, after collecting it, took a low shot from outside the box that got past Stajduhar for a 1-0 New York lead.

This strike followed five straight attacks from New York that the Lions’ defense fended off.

Two-thirds into the first half, Malachi Jones of the Pigeons charged at a ball outside the Orlando box. Mason Stajduhar charged at Jones, and the two had a devastating collision.

Javier Oter in goal for Orlando City vs NYCFC at Yankee Stadium in New York. Photoby Mark Thor

Stajduhar remained on the pitch, needing immediate help for what seemed to be a catastrophic leg injury. He was eventually taken off the Yankee Stadium pitch to a local hospital.

Orlando reported that he was in stable condition.

Orlando now had to rely on their third keeper, Javier Otero, from Orlando City’s B team. This would be Otero’s first MLS action.

New York immediately took advantage of Orlando’s fragile state.

With 13 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half due to the injury, Santiago Rodríguez played Tayvon Gray towards the line down the right wing. Gray was able to beat Iván Angulo to the ball and centered it to Hannes Wolf. Wolf one-timed it low to the far post and in. 2-0 New York.

Then at the 51-minute mark, Thiago Martins fed Tayvon Gray down the right wing yet again to get the Jamaican in behind the Orlando defensive line. Gray hit a low pass to the far post where Alonso Martínez ran onto it and buried it for NYCFC’s third of the night. 3-0 New York.

A devastating end to the Lions’ first half.

“It was a game with two different halves,” said Lions Head Coach Oscar Pareja. “It was unacceptable the way we played in the first half, and I take that responsibility first in the way we came up in those first 30 minutes. The second half was much better, and I thought it was more the team that we want to see. The reaction was very good from our players. We could have tied the game, but at the end in the last play of the game, they scored their fourth goal. I stay with that the reaction from our players was more ourselves and we just try to continue with that energy. Like I said, the first half was unacceptable.”

Orlando attempted a comeback with Dagur Dan Thórhallsson making something happen midway in the second half.

In the 72nd minute, Jeorgio Kocevski played Kyle Smith down the left wing. Smith fed Martín Ojeda to the endline behind the NYCFC defense, for Ojeda to cross into the box. Ojeda’s cross found the head of Thórhallsson, who hit it back to the post where it came from and in for his second goal of the regular season. 3-1 New York.

In stoppage time, Duncan McGuire got into the scoring action, scoring in a sequence where the ball was pinging around near the New York net. The ball eventually found the foot of McGuire, who smashed it into the net for his team-leading seventh regular season goal. 3-2 New York in the 92nd minute of the match.

But two minutes later, the Pigeons put a bow on their victory when Mounsef Bakrar found some space in the box and curled a shot into the back of the net. 4-2.

The Lions continue to focus on eliminating errors, which on this night, many of them helped New York out.

Orlando has a tough week ahead, where they next head to Toronto to face Toronto FC on Wednesday, followed by a Legends Night Celebration in January, where the club will celebrate the legendary Kaká.

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