Jacksonville Sports Day

MLS: Orlando Defeats NYCFC in Penalty Shootout, Advances to Conference Semifinals

ORLANDO – Orlando City SC earned its first postseason victory in Club history on Saturday afternoon, defeating NYCFC in a penalty shootout in Round One of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs at Exploria Stadium.

After the match finished in a 1-1 deadlock after 120 minutes, with the Lions forced to play a man down from the 87th minute of regulation, the two sides were forced into a penalty shootout.

What followed was arguably the wildest ending to a match, with defender Rodrigo Schlegel denying NYCFC defender Gudmundur Thórainsson from the penalty spot, as he was forced to serve in net for the Lions after Pedro Gallese was sent off with his second yellow card of the match for encroachment.

Gallese was carded after making what looked like the game-winning save in the fifth round. Homegrown Benji Michel then stepped up to the spot to convert the winning shot for the Lions to send the sold out, limited-capacity crowd into a frenzy.

Nani scored the lone goal for City in regulation, converting from the penalty spot in the fifth minute of play before being answered three minutes later by Maxime Chanot off an NYCFC set piece. The goal served as the first postseason goal in Club history and the ninth for the Lions’ captain across all competitions in the calendar year.

The Lions opened the scoring early after Nani drew a penalty in the box before stepping up to the spot and converting in front of The Wall to give City an early lead.

The visitors answered quickly, with a corner from Jesús Medina finding the head of Maxime Chanot in the box for the finish.

Match Notes: The Lions earned their first playoff victory in Club history in the first postseason match of their MLS tenure to move onto the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday, Nov. 29. Schlegel became the first field player to play in net for the Lions in Club history, serving as the goalkeeper for the last two rounds of the penalty shootout before denying Gudmundur Thórainsson to help seal the victory. Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese matched a season-high with six saves in the match.

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