Benji Michel Scores Late Game-Winner to Earn Lions 1-0 Victory over Columbus
ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando City SC (7-9-4, 25 points) earned a 1-0 victory over Columbus Crew SC (5-14-2, 17 points) on Saturday night at Exploria Stadium.
Benji Michel scored the game-winner for the Lions in the 84th minute of the match, becoming the first Homegrown player to score an MLS goal for the First Team in Club history. Earlier in the season, Michel became the first Homegrown player to score a goal for the First Team across all competitions when he recorded his first professional goal in a U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 against the New England Revolution.
Goalkeeper Brian Rowe recorded his fifth shutout as a Lion, preserving the City lead with a diving stop to his right in the 88th minute to deny Harrison Afful.
Head Coach James O'Connor:
"Obviously a massive, massive win for us tonight. I think we showed another great side, very positive to be able to show that kind of toughness. I don't think we played particularly well. I thought we looked very tired, which we knew, we expected that. I think in a game like that with the emotion of the other night, we were always very wary of just what kind of energy we were going to have, so we needed to have some grit. I thought the boys showed tremendous character tonight really to be able to defend, put their bodies on the line and the guys who played so many minutes, to be able to push like that is fantastic. Great commitment from the players tonight."
84' Benji Michel (Ruan, Lamine Sané) - ORL 1, CLB 0
The Lions took the lead late, with Lamine Sané sending in a ball for Ruan down the right flank in behind the Columbus defense. The Brazilian defender ran onto it and played it first time across the face of goal, where Benji Michel banged home the finish.
Benji Michel scored his first MLS goal in the match, becoming the first Homegrown player to score a goal for the First Team in Club history. Michel now sits at two across all competitions in 2019, having registered the first goal of his professional goal against the New England Revolution in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16.
Ruan registered his third assist of the season, while Lamine Sané earned his first of 2019 off Michel's finish.
The Lions recorded their fifth shutout of the 2019 season in the win.
Lamine Sané wore the captain's armband for the Lions for the first time this season on Saturday and for the second time overall since coming to Orlando in 2018. The previous time he wore the armband came on October 13, 2018 against the New England Revolution.
The Lions were reduced to 10 men late when Dom Dwyer was shown a red card in the third minute of stoppage time.
Columbus was forced to make an early substitution in the 25th minute when Gastón Sauro exited the game with an injury.
The victory served as City's third-consecutive over Columbus after defeating the Crew 2-0 earlier this season on June 29 and 2-1 in its 2018 home finale on October 21 of last year. Next Match: The Lions face yet another quick turnaround as they travel to face the Portland Timbers on Thursday, July 18 at the newly-renovated Providence Park. Kickoff for that match is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Teams 1 2 F
Orlando City SC 0 1 1
Columbus Crew SC 0 0 0
ORL - Benji Michel (Ruan, Lamine Sané) 84'
ORL - Kamal Miller (Yellow Card) 56'
ORL - Lamine Sané (Yellow Card) 58'
ORL - Carlos Ascues (Yellow Card) 81'
ORL - Sebastián Méndez (Yellow Card) 90+2'
ORL - Dom Dwyer (Red Card) 90+3'
Orlando City SC - GK Brian Rowe; D Kamal Miller, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané ©, Ruan; M Will Johnson (Santiago Patiño 71'), Carlos Ascues, Sebastián Méndez; F Benji Michel, Tesho Akindele (Uri Rosell 78'), Chris Mueller (Dom Dwyer 58')
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adam Grinwis; D Kyle Smith, Danilo Acosta; M Dillon Powers
Columbus Crew SC - GK Joe Bendik, D Waylon Francis, Gastón Sauro (Aboubacar Keita 25'), Josh Williams, Harrison Afful; M Artur, Will Trapp ©, David Guzman (Eduardo Sosa 82'); F Luis Argudo (David Accam 63'), Gyasi Zardes, Pedro Santos
Substitutes Not Used: GK Jon Kempin; M Ricardo Clark, Hector Jimenez; F Romario Williams
Details of the Game:
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Date: July 13, 2019
ORL - 43.3%
CLB - 56.7%
ORL - 4
CLB - 11
ORL - 1
CLB - 0
ORL - 17
CLB - 8
ORL - 1
CLB - 10
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