ORLANDO, Fla. — The Lions went to the Queen City for the first time to take on Charlotte FC Sunday.
The Sunday started with bad news, as the Lions have lost Pato for the remainder of the season to undergo knee surgery. Pato will head home to Brazil for his surgery and recovery.
With Pato out, Lions’ fans saw the return of Ercan Kara to the starting lineup. Also missing from this week’s lineup, Robin Jansson was out, having suffered an injury in training this week, and Joao Moutinho was on yellow card suspension.
The first-half was back and forth; both teams fought for possession and each team took their chances with opportunities at goal, but each team was able to keep a clean sheet going into halftime.
The second-half would be much of the same until the 62nd minute when Junior Urso and Facundo Torres combined to find Ercan Kara in the box. Kara got the ball past Charlotte’s goalkeeper, 1-0 Orlando.
Just four minutes later, Charlotte’s McKinzie Gaines headed a cross into the goal, tieing the score at 1-1.
The game looked like it would end in a tie and the Lions would combine two road games with four points.
Until Tesho Akindele received a pass from Junior Urso up the right side. Charlotte’s keeper saved Akindele’s first shot, but the rebound went back out in front and Akindele was able to track down the ball, sending his second shot into the back of the net in the 89th minute, Lions up 2-1 and would go on to win.
Orlando City will back at Exploria Stadium for their next three games. The first this Sunday against New York City FC and a midweek game on Aug 31 against the Seattle Sounders.
The Lions will get a week to rest and prepare before hosting the finals in the U.S. Open on Sept. 7 against USL’s Sacramento Republic FC.
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