by CHRISTIAN ARAOS
ORLANDO, Fla. — A new stadium but the same result for New York City FC, which remains winless in Florida after falling to Orlando City, 1–0, in the first game played in the Orlando City Stadium.
Cyle Larin scored with a back post header in the 15th minute off of Carlos Rivas’ cross from left wing. It was Orlando’s only shot on target for the entire game. Larin’s goal was his seventh against NYCFC in seven games and it allowed the hosts to drop deep and defend for the rest of the game. That they were successful, leaving NYCFC to lament its missed opportunities.
“When you analyze the game over all, there’s a lot of frustration because we were not clinical enough in front of goal and we didn’t manage the first 15-20 minutes of the game,”NYCFC Coach Patrick Vieira said. “We knew that the first 20 minutes would be critical but we created enough chances and played well enough to take at least a point back to New York.”
Orlando struggled to create opportunities after the goal, which had come after Kaká sustained a hamstring injury and was forced to leave the game after 10 minutes. Orlando City Coach Jason Kreis told reporters that the injury appeared to be serious.
NYCFC completed more than twice as many passes as Orlando, held two-thirds possession and recorded seven shots on target. Its front three of Rodney Wallace, Jack Harrison and Jack Harrison pressed the Orlando defense forcing it to lump long balls over the top, which center backs Alexander Callens and Maxime Chanot were able to manage. David Villa led the way with five chances created and two shots on target. He said after the game that under normal circumstances, NYCFC would have had more goals.
“Take away the first 10 minutes with the Orlando goal and we were the only one team in the game,” Villa said. “We had a lot of chances today but we missed a lot of chances. Normally, we score these chances. You know the quality of Harrison and Ring but soccer is like that. It’s beautiful for this. The team that does more doesn’t always win so congratulations to Orlando because they defended very well. We believe that if we play like that then we will more games than we lose.”
Harrison and Alex Ring had the best chances for City. In the second half, a cross for Villa fell to Harrison on the edge of the six-yard box but Harrison’s shot was blocked by José Ajá. Ring had the best chance of the first half when he was played in by Villa but was met by an oncoming Joe Bendik for one of the seven saves he made Sunday. Vieira said after the game that Bendik’s efforts saved the result for Orlando. Ring said that ‘it was a nice thing’ for Orlando to have a new stadium but that it did not affect NYC’s performance too much.
“We have to be disappointed in the result but if you see the way we played, it will get better. It’s only the first game of the season.”