Tesho Akindele's First Half Finish Leads Lions to 1-0 Victory Over Sporting Kansas City
ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando City SC (9-11-6, 33 points) earned a 1-0 victory over Sporting Kansas City (7-11-7, 28 points) on Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium. Tesho Akindele scored the eventual game-winner for the Lions in the 21st minute, his ninth goal of the 2019 season, to take sole possession of the team lead and set a single-season personal best.
The clean sheet served as City's seventh of the 2019 season, tying a Club record set in both 2015 and 2017. Goalkeeper Brian Rowe has been responsible for each of the Lions' seven shutouts this season, matching former City goalkeeper Joe Bendik's 2017 total for the most in a single-season.
Wednesday marked the Orlando City's first-ever Neon Night, with City wearing its white kits at home for the first time in Club history. The fans were also treated to a halftime appearance from internationally-acclaimed performance artists Blue Man Group, who joined The Wall for a rendition of "La Grande Victoria" during the break.
Head Coach James O'Connor:
"It wasn't pretty. I think for us we had some passages that you think, first half, not bad, couple of passages, nice goal, some good chances first half. Second half just became a complete game of transition. For us it became pure heart. I think you could see, both teams to be honest, the humidity played a huge factor in the game tonight. I think you could see both teams were really impacted by the humidity and that's when you need the character and the heart to be able to push through. That's the one massive credit I can give the players is the heart and the commitment that they showed to dig in and push through because it was very tough conditions tonight."
21' Tesho Akindele (Carlos Ascues, Uri Rosell) - ORL 1, SKC 0
City opened the scoring early, with Uri Rosell playing a through ball to Carlos Ascues inside the area. Ascues played it first time toward the middle of the box, allowing Tesho Akindele to run onto it for the one-time finish.
Tesho Akindele scored his ninth goal of the season in the match, taking sole possession of the team lead. With the finish, Akindele set a new single season career-high in finishes, scoring eight as a part of his 2014 MLS Rookie of the Year campaign with seven in the regular-season and one in the playoffs.
The Lions recorded their seventh shutout of 2019, tying a Club-record set in both the 2015 and 2017 seasons.
Goalkeeper Brian Rowe registered his seventh clean sheet as a Lion, tying former Lion Joe Bendik for the most in a single season. With his three saves on the night, Rowe passed former City goalkeeper Tally Hall for second in Club history, now with 76 saves as a Lion.
Carlos Ascues and Uri Rosell both recorded their first assists of the 2019 season off Tesho Akindele's goal in the 21st minute.
City was forced into an early substitution in the 12th minute when Kyle Smith left the match with an injury. Next Match: The Lions will embark on their first visit to Allianz Field, set to face Minnesota United FC on Saturday, August 17 with kickoff set for 8 p.m. ET.
Teams 1 2 F
Orlando City SC 1 0 1
Sporting Kansas City 0 0 0
ORL - Tesho Akindele (Carlos Ascues, Uri Rosell) 21'
ORL - Nani (Yellow Card) 37'
SKC - Felipe Gutiérrez (Yellow Card) 37'
ORL - Tesho Akindele (Yellow Card) 49'
SKC - Luis Martins (Yellow Card) 90'
Orlando City SC - GK Brian Rowe; D Kamal Miller, Robin Jansson, Lamine Sané, Kyle Smith (Shane O'Neill 12'); M Carlos Ascues, Nani ©, Uri Rosell; F Chris Mueller (Benji Michel 46'), Dom Dwyer (Sacha Kljestan 74'), Tesho Akindele
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adam Grinwis; D Alex de John; M Dillon Powers; F Santiago Patiño
Sporting Kansas City - GK Tim Melia; D Seth Sinovic (Luis Martins 71'), Matt Besler ©, Graham Smith, Graham Zusi; M Felipe Gutiérrez, Ilie Sánchez, Roger Espinoza; F Gianluca Busio (Benny Feilhaber 59'), Jimmy Medrana (Erik Hurtado 46'), Johnny Russell
Substitutes Not Used: GK Erik Dick; D Andreu Fontas, Nicolas Hasler; M Wan Kuzain
Details of the Game:
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Date: Aug. 14, 2019
ORL - 44.5%
SKC - 55.5%
ORL - 8
SKC - 14
ORL - 3
SKC - 0
ORL - 8
SKC - 9
ORL - 2
SKC - 11
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