Orlando City recorded their first win of the season against the New York Red Bulls in a match that saw almost everything, from goals to dirty fouls and controversial calls.
The match finished after seven goals were scored, with the home side prevailing, 4-3, at Orlando City Stadium.
Things got started quickly when the visitors opened the scoring after seven minutes. Florian Valot scored the first goal of his MLS career, doing so with a header from close range after receiving a well-timed ball from Alejandro Romero Gamarra.
The lead was short lived, as Orlando grabbed their first equalizer eight minutes later. Justin Meram made a run deep into the penalty area, finding Will Johnson on the other side of the box. From there, it was a simple finish from the midfielder who was not far from the goal line.
The Red Bulls took the lead only nine minutes later, with Derrick Etienne this time scoring his first MLS goal. Valot fed Etienne a smart ball, and the Haitian was able to outpace the Orlando defenders, and had a deflection help him after he shot.
To add to the drama, Dom Dwyer grabbed his side’s second equalizer in the 26th minute, only two minutes later. The goal was marred in controversy, as Dwyer grabbed goalkeeper Luis Robles’s shirt before he scored, but the goal stood.
While one call went the home side’s way in the first half, another major one benefitted the away side. Before the half ended, referee Jair Marrufo gave Aurelien Collin a yellow card after a tackle on Dwyer, which he proceeded to repeat about a minute later. Marrufo, after a bit of consideration, decided to let Collin play on.
Orlando opened the second half by going ahead in the 48th minute. Dwyer scored again, after Mohammed El Monir found him in the middle of the penalty area. It was a fairly easy finish for Dwyer, who was right in front of the goal.
Midway through the second half, Marrufo had the opportunity to pull out a card when the Red Bulls’ Vincent Bezecourt took took an elbow to the head from Johnson. However, the referee decided once again to let the teams stay at 11.
Before the final ten minutes, the Red Bulls did go down to ten, though with no help from the referee. Kyle Duncan picked up an injury after Jesse Marsch had made all three substitutions, leading to a fully reshuffled back line.
It seemed like all would be fine at first, with substitute Aaron Long making the score 3-3. The center back scored on a header after receiving the ball from Marc Rzatkowski, the momentum fully back on the away team’s side.
However, the match ended in joy for the home side, as Scott Sutter grabbed the final goal of the match in the 86th minute. He received the ball from former Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan, and took a shot from distance which was helped in by a large deflection.
MAN OF THE MATCH
The home side eventually prevailed in a thrilling match, with much of the credit going to Dom Dwyer. The forward pestered the Red Bulls defense throughout the entirety of his 64 minute shift, including frequently getting the better of Aurelien Collin. His two goals were incredibly important as his side began picking up momentum, first through his equalizer and then from his second half go ahead goal.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
In a thrilling match, there are many moments to pick from, but Scott Sutter’s goal stands out among the rest. While the other six goals did not feel like the last, Sutter’s felt like a conclusion to an active match. His shot from distance was aided by a deflection, but he was able to finally put an end to the hectic match.
MATCH TO FORGET
Several of the defenders on both sides could get a mention, but Jair Marrufo was easily the person on the pitch whose performance will be criticized the most. From not utilizing VAR when he should have on Dwyer’s goal to failing to send off Collin’s red card and plenty of opportunities to discipline players in the second half, many felt the referee could have used his powers effectively during the course of the match.