Orlando City fell 1-0 to FC Cincinnati on Friday Night at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati. Brenner scored the game-winning goal (and lone goal of the match at that) in the 65th minute for Cincinnati.
The biggest story of the match was arguably the play of Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. Gallese was great in goal for Orlando, and he made several important and impressive saves that helped keep his side in the match. His best save might've been in the 14th minute when he stopped a one-timer by Nick Hagglund from about 10 yards out with his diving right hand. He also made a strong save in the 38th minute on a fierce strike from right outside the box from Alvaro Barreal.
Gallese also held Hagglund out of the net once again in the 39th minute when he kept a header from Hagglund out of the net. He also made a quality save in the 53rd minute to keep a running header from Brandon Vazquez from the back of the net. Overall he made eight saves in net. You could arguably easily make the argument that Gallese is one of the biggest reasons that Orlando had a chance to get points from the match, that he kept Cincinnati from being up more than 1-0.
Cincinnati ultimately took the lead in the 65th minute when Brenner put home a cross from Luciano Acosta from short-range. A rebound off a save from Gallese fell to Acosta who put it across the goal to Brenner who scored. It was a tough luck goal to concede for Orlando, but you could make the argument that it was a deserved goal for Cincinnati due to the way they had been playing.
Pedro Gallese couldn't stop Orlando City losing 1-0 to FC Cincinnati
Arguably Orlando's best chance at scoring came late off a header from Antonio Carlos. In the 82nd minute, Alexandre Pato controlled the ball well and put a cross in to Carlos, but Carlos' header missed just to the left of the net. It was a frustrating way for the night to end for Orlando with a solid chance just missing wide-left.
Defender Kyle Smith also played well for Orlando. He ended up leading the team in key passes and tackles won with three and four respectively. He also won 13 duels which was 2nd best on the team in the match. Smith also completed 82.5% of his matches.
Orlando only mustered two shots on goal, with just seven shots total. They also were able to complete 83% of their passes. Cincinnati also led in Expected Goals at 1.2-0.3.
Orlando held 54% of possession, but was not able to threaten enough in their attack. Orlando just wasn't threatening enough in it's attack in this match. I believe that defensively, some of the players at the back played well (outside of giving up too many shots), but the midfield and attack didn't put enough pressure on Cincy. Orlando did well on holding possession and in passing, but there just wasn't enough going at the Cincinnati net.
Orlando will likely look back on this match and be frustrated by the unlucky goal that they conceded and by the lack of offense, but they should also look at the positives from the match such as the play of Gallese.
The lack of offense has been an issue that Orlando has struggled with this year. Orlando has scored just 20 goals on the season, which is 9th in the East and 16 in the league. Orlando is still in a really good spot however, even with the offensive struggles. I believe that Orlando has a chance to take advantage of where they are knowing that they can still improve. With the MLS Transfer window set to open back up in just over a week, it presents an opportunity for Orlando to improve their attack and to make a run at the playoffs.
Orlando now sits 5th in the Eastern Conference table with 25 points through 17 matches. Orlando is still just two points out of 2nd place however, even though they are also only two points ahead of 7th place. It is a tight Eastern Conference race now at around the midpoint of the MLS season. Even with the loss, Orlando is still right in the thick of the playoff race and still has the talent to make things happen.
Next up, Orlando will play in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup on Wednesday against Nashville. The match will be in Orlando at 7:00 pm Eastern. Orlando will return to MLS action on a special July 4th match against DC United in Orlando also at 7:00 pm Eastern.