Heading into the season, Jason Kreis emphasized the importance of turning their home into a fortress.
The Lions have lived up to that degree.
A stoppage time goal from Cyle Larin kept Orlando City undefeated at home as the Lions defeated the LA Galaxy 2-1 on Saturday in front of a sold out crowd at Orlando City Stadium.
“I feel as though maybe I should tape record this and next home game I’ll push play for you because for me it’s a lot of the same stuff,” said Kreis moments after the game. “Really, really good. A lot of positive things, and then some negative stuff that we gotta continue to improve on. I think we’re still a team that’s not quite figuring out how to manage a match. And we need to do better with that.”
Orlando City captain Will Johnson opened his goal account with the team after scoring the opening goal in the ninth minute when Scott Sutter played a long ball, finding the Canadian who controlled the ball with his chest before striking the volley past Clement Diop.
A stronger second half from the visitors resulted into Romain Alessandrini scoring the equalizing goal late in the 83rd minute. But a minute into stoppage time, the Lions (4-1-0, 12 points) were able to win a corner kick, paving the way for Johnson to connect with Larin who struck from close range for the go-ahead goal.
“This is a striker’s mentality… you see it so often that strikers can have when you have a nightmare for 89 minutes and in one play they score a goal and walk out as heroes, and that’s what they have to do,” Kreis said on Larin’s performance, who finished with only two shots with one on target.
The Lions came close to scoring two more goals after Johnson’s opener in the first half. First, it was Carlos Rivas, whose free kick connected with Jonathan Spector to head the ball toward goal, but eventually hit the post in the seventh minute. Rivas again was able to maneuver up the Galaxy backline to strike the ball from distance, but again it hit the far left post in the 18th minute.
The Lions became the first team in MLS history to open up a stadium with a 4-0 record.
Antonio Nocerino, who suffered from an inflammation on his calf last week against the New York Red Bulls, was named to the starting lineup and played the full 90 minutes for Orlando.
On the statistical category, the Galaxy (2-4-0, 6 points) had the edge, outshooting the Lions 18-12 and holding 50.9 percent of possession of the ball.
The Lions are on the road this upcoming week when they visit Yankee Stadium to take on New York City FC on Sunday, April 23 at 1:30 p.m. The game will broadcast live on FS1.
(Photo courtesy of Orlando City)