NYCFC was all talk before Friday night’s match against Orlando City, but had no bite at the Citrus Bowl, blowing a one-goal halftime lead in the Blues 2-1 loss in Orlando.
By Jeff Weisinger
All of the talk going into Friday night’s match at Orlando City was about New York City FC finishing the season on a strong note after being eliminated from playoff contention last weekend.
Instead, NYCFC looked like a club that was ready to call it a season in their uninspirational 2-1 loss at Orlando City Friday night, keeping the Lions’ playoff hopes alive going into the final week of the season (pending what happens with the Montreal Impact Saturday night).
Defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe, who’s struggled in his minutes on the pitch throughout the season, scored his first and likely only goal of the season for the Blues in the first minute of stoppage time in the first half to put NYCFC up 1-0. The goal was his first MLS goal in seven seasons. Mix Diskerud’s shot was blocked, however the ball rebounded back toward Siriboe who drilled it in from 14 yards out, giving Orlando keeper Tally Hall no chance at a save.
That was the only positive attack by the Blues throughout the night. Once again, NYCFC was unable to create many chances, let alone finish them against Orlando City.
The backline struggled to contain the Lions’ attack and Orlando City made them pay in the 62nd minute when potential Rookie of the Year candidate Cyle Larin drilled in a header off of a cross from Corey Ashe to tie the match at one-goal apiece.
Just eight minutes later, Larin earned his brace for the night, scoring on a perfect counter by the Lions on a giveaway by NYCFC. Larin found Adrian Winters on a two-on-one situation with Jefferson Mena, however Winters’ shot was blocked by goalkeeper Josh Saunders. Larin dashed in uncontested to tap in the go-ahead goal in the 70th minute, putting OCSC up 2-1.
Larin was close to a hat-trick in the 74th minute, and possibly should’ve had the goal, however referee Allen Chapman claimed that the goal, apparently defended by Mena, didn’t fully cross the line, thus not being a goal. The replay on UniMas showed that the ball crossed the line, meaning the goal should’ve counted and Orlando City should have taken a 3-1 lead.
Ned Grabavoy left the game with an injury in the 20th minute and Hall left Orlando City’s net in the 82nd minute with a knee injury, forcing backup keeper Josh Ford into duty. Ford recorded a save in the final minutes.
NYCFC drops to 10-16-7 (37 points) going into their regular season finale against the New England Revolution on Oct. 25 in the Bronx.