Orlando City captain Ricardo Kaka assisted on two Cyle Larin goals to lead the Lions (3-3-5, 14 points) to their 1st win in almost two months, Saturday night against the Montreal Impact (4-4-4, 16 points).
The game got off to an awful start for the Lions, when in just the 4th minute, a good team move from Montreal led to Ignacio Piatti picking the ball up with space in the box. Piatti turned Rafael Ramos around, put the ball on to his favored right foot and fired a deflected shot into Joe Bendik’s goal for the 1-0 lead.
Orlando City didn’t create many chances in the first half, but luckily enough, when they did get a chance they took full advantage. In the 43rd minute, Larin earned a free kick about 35 yards away from goal on the left flank. Kaka delivered a sumptuous cross that Larin flicked into Evan Bush’s goal with the back of his head.
The second half was a completely different animal than the first 45′. The game was so wide open and both teams were creating quality chance after quality chance.
Bendik did very well to keep the score level after an Ambroise Oyongo cross/shot was deflected on target and the keeper had to fight against his momentum to get a strong hand to smack the ball away. This was just one of Bendik’s six saves.
Orlando finally found the breakthrough in the 86th minute, after a string of frustrating missed chances made City fans start to believe they might not ever find the net, for example, Larin not feeding a wide open Carlos Rivas to tap into an empty net in the 55th minute, or Julio Baptista slipping on the turf as Rivas squared a perfect cross for “La Bestia” to slot home.
A Cristian Higuita cross found Kaka at the top of the box where he chested the ball to Baptista, who flicked the ball back to his former Sao Paulo and Real Madrid teammate. Kaka had the presence of mind to fire low and across the face of Montreal’s goal where Larin finished off the beautiful move with his left foot, sending more than 34,000 fans into an uproar.
The win means the Lions have now gone 12 games without a loss at home and it also put them back into a playoff spot with at least a game in hand on four out of the five teams above them.
Orlando City fans don’t have to wait long to see if their team can build on the momentum as they host the first place Philadelphia Union on Wednesday at 7:30.