Orlando City attacking midfielder, Julio Baptista, has been nominated for Major League Soccer’s Goal of the Week award for his emotional, late, strike that put the Lions in the lead in second half stoppage time of Saturday’s match against the San Jose Earthquakes.
More from O-Town's 11
Baptista was substituted on for Luke Boden, by Head Coach Adrian Heath, in the 62nd minute of the match, with Heath hoping that “La Bestia” could provide the necessary spark to give the Lions a goal in the, so far, scoreless affair. Baptista delivered.
After an 85th minute header from Chad Barrett tied the match at one goal a piece, cancelling out a Seb Hines header, Orlando City fans were expecting what they had seen almost all season so far, a draw at home (The Lions have now drawn six out of eight home matches this season, the most in MLS).
Click Here to Vote for Julio Baptista for MLS Goal of the Week.
In the first of a guaranteed three added minutes of stoppage time, another second half substitute Carlos Rivas, whipped in a cross toward the penalty spot where Baptista controlled the ball with his chest and, with his back turned to the goal, struck a left foot volley off of Dave Bingham’s glove, into the back of the net, sending the 37,194 fans at Camping World Stadium into a frenzy.
The frenzy only lasted two minutes, when Shea Salinas equalized with the last kick of the match.
The goal gave the Beast two goals and an assist from his last three matches, including the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
In the bracket style tournament to name the winner of the award, Baptista faced off against London Woodberry of the New England Revolution in the quarterfinals. Woodberry powerfully headed home Lee Nguyen cross, but the goal wasn’t a match for Baptista’s, who beat out the Revolution player’s goal with an impressive 94.55% of the votes.
Now in the semifinals he’s up against New York City FC’s David Villa who slotted home a left footed shot against the Philadelphia Union. Baptista is leading the Spaniard with over 86% of the votes.
In the final round, he will most likely face off against New York City’s Andrea Pirlo who curled home a beautiful free kick. Pirlo’s goal was gorgeous so make sure you place your vote for Orlando City’s “Beast”.
Baptista is trying to become the third Lion to win the award, joining Kevin Molino and Cyle Larin, who has won it twice this year.