By Shae Beaudoin // @ShaeEliz
Sunday, April 8: 3-2 Win
Not to say I told you so or anything but I’ve been saying since the home opener that good things would happen if we could just get MLS SuperDraft pick Chris Mueller on the field at the same time as Dom Dwyer. Sunday’s game against the Portland Timbers proved just that.
At first, spirits were low. Three minutes in, Portland had a shot on goal that slipped through goalkeeper Joe Bendik’s fingers, but luckily the return of our captain Jonathan Spector meant great saves by the defense. Samuel Armenteros was almost sent off with a red for a second yellow card, however, VAR overturned the penalty and awarded Portland the penalty kick. And thus, Orlando City found themselves down 0-1 at the half.
The start of the second half pushed spirits even further as Portland landed another shot to bring the score to 0-2. You could hear the disappointment in the stands. The Wall was unusually quiet and antsy. And Orlando City looked to be asleep out on the field.
Our saving grace came in the form of our 21-year-old SuperDraft pick. Chris Mueller came on as a sub in the 67th minute and turned the game around for us. Not sure if it was just having a fresh pair of legs or if it was the hunger of Mueller to get his first MLS goal, but whatever it was worked.
After a few missed attempts, the first goal came in the 80th minute when Mueller landed a header and officially put his name in the books for the first time. This was all it took to reignite the Wall and lift the spirits across the stadium. Just two minutes later, Orlando City was awarded a penalty kick, taken by Sacha Kljestan, and tying up the score. The most intense ten minutes of Orlando City history came when Dom Dwyer scored the winning shot, bringing the score to 3-2 in favor of Orlando.
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) April 10, 2018
I hope this team, from the 80th to 87th minute, is the team we see all season. This is what Orlando City is capable of. The remaining 80 minutes of this game was disappointing at best and I know we’re capable of so much more. So yes, we can celebrate this win and we can celebrate our 3 points, but let’s not get any false hope that we’re now invincible and a solid team.
We’ve got a lot of work to put in if we wish to keep the victories going. If we play like we played most of this game, we won’t be seeing 3 points all that often. If we play like we played in that ten-minute window, yeah. We’ll have a great season ahead of us.
Our next game is this Friday, we head to Philadelphia to face the Union for the first time this season. Check back here for match coverage!
Featured image courtesy: Shae Beaudoin
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