Orlando City SC News

That Arsenal friendly actually went well

Christopher Adams
Jul 20, 2022; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando City midfielder Andres Perea (21) and Arsenal forward
Jul 20, 2022; Orlando, FL, USA; Orlando City midfielder Andres Perea (21) and Arsenal forward / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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It could've been a disaster.

A lengthy weather delay, the least surprising development in history, seemed to be the first bad omen over a meaningless friendly between Orlando City and Arsenal, but the match actually went well.

As expected, the English titans brought a strong crowd to Exploria Stadium and considerable hype in the soccer-verse for Orlando City. The real surprise came between the lines where the Lions didn't suck?

Yes, the Gunners did win 3-1 with a comfortable roster with a B- caliber squad, but Orlando City showed plenty of quality, most evident on a fabulous route one goal from Uruguayan starlet Facundo Torres.

That's probably the best goal Torres has scored in Orlando so far, and even though it was preseason, he pulled it off against one of the bigger clubs on the planet. Certainly not a bad clip to throw out when the first round of European transfer enquiries come in for the 22-year-old playmaker.

Even better than a relatively respectable outing was the lack of injuries. By far the biggest fear in playing an extra match is the risk of injury. If a player, especially a key star like Torres, had gone down in this game, every fan would be filled with righteous anger at the club for scheduling this game.

But nobody came away with anything more than a good exhibition against elite competition. All of my pessimism is a bit much in hindsight, and based purely on the results Wednesday, the friendly was a net positive.

For the relative success in Orlando, that's nothing compared to two other MLS vs. Premier League friendlies on Wednesday night. Chelsea paid a visit to Bank of America Stadium to face MLS newcomers Charlotte FC. The game featured a goal from USMNT superstar Christian Pulisic and some silly penalty hijinks, including a Panenka from Charlotte's Daniel Rios and this incredible gaff from Chelsea's Conor Gallagher.

If that wasn't a funny enough Premier League blunder, Everton -- who BARELY escaped one of the most embarrassing relegations in history last year -- played Minnesota United in Allianz Field and got blasted 4-0 by the Loons.

Is that one of the funniest preseason results in history? Who's to say. But alls fair in the wild wacky world of midweek cross-continental friendlies.

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