The Rapids had an early cross, but the Lions got a shot within the first 5 minutes, and kept up the pressure. For the next 20-ish minutes, Orlando had most of the possession, but around the 20th minute, things started to shift. The Rapids connected more passes than I remember seeing in a long time, and Kevin Doyle had a decent run in the 26th minute but got pushed off the ball.
Eric Miller sent some great crosses in, but 30 minutes in, the Rapids had 14 clearances. It was obvious that things were a little more cohesive defensively this week with the return of Jared Watts.
In the 36th minute, Mohammed Saeid got taken out by Matías Pérez García (who earned a yellow for his terrible tackle) and took a minute by the sideline. He came back in but was limping around a bit. Besides being a little banged up towards the end of the half, Saeid was doing a solid job in the 10 spot - he controlled the middle, had crisp passes, and a great first touch.
The Rapids first corner came at the 37th minute, but it was short (unintentionally short). Orlando tried to clear it, but Bobby Burling was able to get a head on it and pass it towards Doyle. Unfortunately, Joe Bendik scooped it up before the Rapids could do anything with it.
Possession very much favored Orlando for the first 20 minutes, but by half time it was almost even. The Rapids’ passing has been much better than we’ve seen, and the defense stepped up this game. Not a super exciting half, but a decent defensive effort from the Burgundy Boys.
The Rapids seemed to bring a little more pressure and excitement into the second half. Doyle connected with Hairston early, but a defender cleared it. Saeid took the corner this time and delivered much better service into the box, though Orlando got to it first and cleared it.
Literally nothing happened for the next 10 minutes. Or maybe I just fell asleep, whatever. Either way, Dominique Badji subbed in for Gordo in the 58th minute, with Kaká and Carlos Rivas coming in for Orlando about a minute later. Both teams were obviously trying to bring in some pace and get that first goal.
Orlando starting throwing numbers forward and attacking from the wings, which resulted in Rivas putting a great ball in the box. MacMath was in position to get to it, but a defender kicked it out, giving Orlando a corner. Colorado was able to clear it, but just a bit later, Kaká got a shot off that missed the far post by inches.
The Lions kept coming, with their best chance so far in the 68th minute from rising superstar Cyle Larin. Larin snuck into the the six-yard box a put a header right at MacMath, who batted it away. Although Tim Howard is returning next game, MacMath continues to step up and prove that he is a starting caliber keeper. Today, he finished with four saves.
But after 10 minutes of constant pressure, the Rapids defense was finally broken down. Perhaps Colorado was starting to get drained, but Rivas sent a rocket in from 27 (?) yards out, and Orlando went up 1-0.
In the 74th minute, Dillon Serna came in for Marlon Hairston, which was mostly a like-for-like sub. Then in 78th minute, Shkelzen Gashi came in for Doyle. After leaving two subs on the bench last week, it was nice to see Head Coach Pablo Mastroeni not only using all three subs, but using them wisely.
Gashi got a shot off in the 82nd minute (the Rapids first and only SoG of the game), but it bounced right to Bendik. The Rapids started looking super tired and slowing down in the last 5-10 minutes of the game, but got their chance with a corner in the 89th minute. Dillon Serna took the kick. It landed at Saeid’s feet, who popped it into the middle instead of taking the shot and Orlando was able to clear it.
Orlando had a break in the other direction, but MacMath cut down the angle, deflected the ball, and Orlando got a corner. Gashi tried to clear the ball, but it went right to Orlando, who put it back towards the goal. Cyle Larin then got a shot at the far post that was about to go a few inches wide, but Kaká came in to clean it up and made sure it got in the back of the net.
The Rapids went down 2-0, and after four minutes of extra time, Orlando earned their 5th home win while handing Colorado their 5th loss of the season.