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MLS is Back: Orlando City shocks LAFC to book place in semifinals

KISSIMMEE, Fla. —Orlando City wasn’t given much of a chance heading into Friday night’s MLS is Back Tournament quarterfinal against high-flying Los Angeles FC, but the Lions showed from the start, and with a resounding finish, that they weren’t ready to see their Cinderella run end.

The Lions knocked off the tournament favorites, as Joao Moutinho’s 90th-minute equalizer against his former team kept Orlando City alive, and the Lions converted all five penalty kicks to win the penalty shootout.

After having a penalty kick saved in the second half, Nani redeemed himself by scoring the game-winning penalty kick to lift Orlando City past LAFC, 1-1 (5-4 in penalties), advancing to the semifinals of the MLS is Back Tournament.

The Lions will now face the winner of Saturday’s quarterfinal between the San Jose Earthquakes and Minnesota United, with their semifinal scheduled for Thursday.

Orlando City started the match with a strong first half, outplaying LAFC and dominating the possession battle, outshooting LAFC 7-0 before halftime.

In the 27th minute, Antonio Carlos’ header off a corner kick was saved by Los Angeles’ Kenneth Vermeer, denying the Lions from opening the scoring.

LAFC looked to have scored in the 32nd minute when Bradley Wright-Phillips easily scored a tap-in past Pedro Gallese, but a VAR review determined Brian Rodriguez was offside before setting up the goal.

Nani could have given Orlando the lead in the 57th minute when LAFC committed a penalty foul, but Vermeer made a diving save on Nani’s penalty.

LAFC responded moments later when Wright-Phillips finished off a ball from Diego Rossi to give last year’s Supporters’ Shield winner the lead in the 60th minute.

Orlando City looked like its tournament was about to end, but Moutinho’s late equalizer saved the Lions, and sparked the upset that eliminated the league’s top team.

Man of the Match

Joao Moutinho: The left back scored in the 90th minute against his former team to keep Orlando City alive, then he converted his penalty as the Lions completed a perfect shootout to advance.

Moment of the Match

Moutinho’s equalizer: LAFC looked like it had the game won, but Moutinho’s header saved the day.

Match to Forget 

Jordan Harvey: The veteran defender had a forgettable 90 minutes during regulation before firing his penalty kick off the crossbar for the only miss of the shootout.


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