MLS Snapshot: Orlando christen new home with 1-0 win over NYCFC

Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images
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The game in 100 words (or less): Shall we call them Orlando City SC 2.0? After spending their first two seasons as an MLS franchise playing their home games at the old Citrus Bowl, the Lions moved into a new venue on Sunday: home, otherwise known as Orlando City Stadium. Situated in downtown Orlando, the new digs were (not quite) completed at a total cost of $155 million, and Sunday’s opener indicated it was worth every penny paid (and then some). The north end of the stadium, dubbed “The Wall” in a nod to Borussia Dortmund’s yellow rendition, boasts the first all-standing section in MLS history. The angle at which the single-level stand sits helped to create an atmosphere not at all unlike that of the Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City. Cyle Larin scored the first goal in the brand new, 25,500-seat stadium’s history, a 15th-minute header from three yards out, set up masterfully by Giles Barnes, and that’s all they’d need to secure three points and send the sellout crowd home without wanting.

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Three moments that mattered

8′ — Kaka goes down early; day is done — 7 minutes, 13 seconds: that’s the exact period for which Kaka was healthy and fit to begin the 2017 season.

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 05: Kaka #10 of Orlando City SC goes down with a leg injury during a MLS soccer match between New York City FC and Orlando City SC at the Orlando City Stadium on March 5, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)

15′ — Larin heads home from Barnes’ cross — Larin will be in Europe sooner rather than later — this summer, if I’m putting my money on it — and this kind of (improved) back-post run is just one reason why; his size, speed to arrive at the right time, and leaping/heading ability are a few of the others.

53′ — Bendik reaches out to deny Harrison — Jack Harrison probably thought he’d pulled the visitors level as soon as he put his left foot through the ball in the 53rd minute. What he hadn’t foreseen, though, was Joe Bendik going full-stretch to push the ball wide of his right-hand post.

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Men of the match: Joe Bendik

Goalscorers: Larin (15′)