Orlando City SC secured a 3-2 victory over Atlanta United FC on Friday night at Exploria Stadium in downtown Orlando.
Nani scored the winning point in the 87-minute with Silvester van der Water and Kyle Smith each getting on the board for the Lions as well, the latter scoring his first goal for the Club. Nani extended his team lead with his eighth goal of the season in the match and his third game-winner for a team high.
The City captain also tallied his fifth assist of the year, his 23rd in all competitions as a Lion, now holding sole possession of that record in Club history to pass teammate Chris Mueller (22) and former Club captain Káka.
Tesho Akindele made his first appearance for the Lions after the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, entering the match in the 74th minute despite logging 69 minutes for Canada in the Semifinal loss to Mexico.
Homegrown goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar made his MLS debut in the match, having to make just one save through 90 minutes of play. Stajduhar serves as the fourth Homegrown for the Lions to appear for the side this season, following David Loera’s 2021 debut in New York City last weekend as Orlando City grows the team roster.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja said, “We’re excited. Happy to see the players back in front of our fans. It was a difficult victory, but at the end a victory that means a lot for us. The players were incredible today and the game was the same, just trying to get through some hurdles there with the first goal that they scored in the first 45 seconds, and we needed to overcome that and also the second goal that was another difficult moment.”
“I think we showed what we’re made of, what the team is. The players deserve all the recognition and today they won a very important match. Not just the three points, but just the way they brought things back, it’s all credit to them.”
The Lions return home to Orlando on Wednesday, August 4th to Exploria Stadium to face intrastate foes Inter Miami CF.
This is original content from NewsBreak’s Creator Program. Join today to publish and share your own content.