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Orlando beats Liga MX Santos Laguna; sets up first Florida derby with Messi’s Miami

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando City scored three goals to beat Liga MX Santos Laguna, 3-2, to take the top spot in Leagues Cup South Region Group 2.

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The Lions now head to Ft. Lauderdale on Wednesday for the first Florida derby to include Lionel Messi.

In Saturday night’s game, the Lions had the first opportunity to take the lead in the 4-minute when rookie Duncan McGuire hit the right post of the goal from inside the six-yard box. Santos Laguna’s goalkeeper grabbed the ball to stop McGuire from putting back the rebound.

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In the 41-minute, Santos Laguna’s Raúl López started the scoring for the night when López found a gap between two Lion defenders at the top of the box and sent a shot past Lions’ goalkeeper Pedro Gallese for the finish.

But three minutes later, McGuire would get a second opportunity when Rafael Santos sent a cross in front of the goal and a streaking McGuire headed the ball into the back of the net.

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The two clubs went into halftime tied 1-1.

Just a minute after halftime, City’s Captian Mauricio Pereyra fired a long-distance shot outside the box and found the top right corner of the goal, Lions go up 2-1.

But Santos would come back in the 58-minute when Harold Preciado would equalize with a looping header over Gallese to tie the game 2-2.

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It looked like both clubs would be looking at another penalty shootout to determine the winner of the game and their final placement in the South Regin 2 standings.

But just a day after Peru’s Independence Day, the young Peruvian, Wilder Cartagena, would bring fans at Exploria Stadium to their feet in celebration.

In stoppage time, the Lion’s César Araújo was left open down the right side of the pitch and played a cross on the ground across the box to find Wilder running in behind Santos Laguna’s backline to tap in the winning goal under the legs of the opposing team’s goalkeeper.

Orlando City wins 3-2 and sets up an interstate rivalry match with Inter Miami CF in Leagues Cup play.

Next Game:

When: Aug. 2, time TBD

Where: DRV PNK Stadium

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