HIALEAH, Fla. — Jason Kreis said he was planning to insert a strong lineup heading into the club’s midweek U.S. Open Cup matchup.
He was right.
With Sacha Kljestan pulling the strings, goals from Stefano Pinho, Dillon Powers and Victor PC Giro lifted Orlando City to a 3-0 victory of Miami United Wednesday night at Ted Hendricks Stadium.
“Obviously pleased to get a result that wasn’t easy,” said Kreis after the game. “We just need goals right now, so whoever scores is really pleasing. I think in the first half, it showed moments of the same story, getting in the final third with relative ease and not making the right decisions to have quality chances.”
Pinho gave Orlando the lead in the 37th minute after a one-two between Josue Colman and Kljestan found RJ Allen making a run down the right flank, who then served a ball to the Brazilian to slot it past the goalkeeper.
The Lions dominated the second half and doubled the lead in the 53rd minute when Mohamed El-Munir combined with Kljestan, who then sent a ball into the penalty area to find an unmarked Powers to strike the ball into the net.
PC made it 3-0 in the 62nd minute when a giveaway in Miami’s defensive third saw Kljestan dish the ball over to the Brazilian fullback to strike from close range.
It was Kljestan’s first 3-assist game for Orlando City since Kaka did it on Sept. 25, 2015 against the New York Red Bulls.
Orlando City will play the round of 16 on Wednesday, June 20. An opponent is expected to be announced on June 7.
Captain Spector makes a return
After missing almost two month of action due to concussion-like symptoms, Jonathan Spector made his official return for the Lions Wednesday night.
“It felt great… I feel good, and it’s even better that it was capped with good team performance, a win and a berth into the next round,” said Spector. “I wasn’t here just to get minutes, I wanted to contribute, so it was good to be able to do that.”
The captain played the entire first half before getting substituted for Chris Schuler. Kreis said he was happy to see the centerback return.
“It’s great, he’s a terrific leader and you can hear him communicating back there and trying to organize, so I’m really happy to get him involved,” said Kreis. “Hopefully we can move forward. We have to be a little bit nervous because this is the first time he’s put in a real minutes, so we’ll see how he reacts over the next couple of days.”
Here’s how the Lions lined up:
Orlando City XI: Edwards Jr.; El-Munir, Rocha, Spector (c), Allen; Rosell, Powers, Kljestan, PC, Colman; Pinho.
Orlando City bench: Bendik; Johnson, Higuita, Meram, Mueller, Schuler, Villarreal.
(Photo Courtesy of Orlando City SC)
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