Arriving just in the knick of time, recently-signed Benfica youth players Rafael Ramos and Estrela made their Orlando City debuts on Saturday night, with each player scoring a goal in the Lions’ 3-2 win over the Richmond Kickers.
For an Orlando team that was not only searching for a much needed victory, but some reliable depth in their midfield, the performance of these two players last night was big in securing three points to put them six points clear over the Kickers with one game in hand.
“I thought that the two new players (Estrela and Ramos) were outstanding, considering that they haven’t played for two or three weeks.” head coach Adrian Heath said after the game. “Their contribution was massive, and we got a little bit of luck which we’ve been lacking in previous weeks, so overall it was a really pleasing night for everybody.”
Estrela put Orlando City on the board just eight minutes into the game on a rocketed volley past the Richmond defense from just outside of the box. When Richmond was unable to clear off a set-piece from Adama Mbengue, Estrela was there to bury the shot for his first Orlando goal.
Estrela put in a good game in the defensive end of Orlando City’s midfield, finally giving the Lions some strength in an area where they have been struggling with ever since Yordany Alvarez went down with a concussion-related injury back in June. His signing could be a big difference make for Orlando has they finish up the regular season and head into the playoffs.
Ramos extended Orlando City’s lead to 3-1 in the 70th minute with his first game with the club. Ramos cut past a pair of defenders on his way to a quality finish at the near-post.