Orlando City SC (USL PRO) defeated the visiting Colorado Rapids (Major League Soccer) 3-1 Tuesday night in the third round of US Open Cup play at Fifth Third Bank Field at the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. Forward Dom Dwyer notched two goals in the second half, leading the club to its first-ever win over an MLS club in US Open Cup play and advancing Orlando to the 4th round of competition.
“I think just before and during the second half we were far and away the better team,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I thought we were worthy winners and it would have been a travesty if we didn’t take home the win.”
Orlando got on the board early, with a Bryan Burke score giving the Lions the 1-0 advantage. In the 4th minute, the winger received the ball on the edge of the box- rifling his attempt off a Colorado defender and into the back of the net. The goal was Burke’s second consecutive, counting regular season play, with the former Kitsap Puma (PDL) star netting his first goal of the season Saturday night in USL PRO season over Wilmington.
Colorado quickly responded, with a defensive turnover leading to the equalizer. Rapids’ Midfielder Kamani Hill jumped on a bad pass by the Orlando backline in the 17th minute, putting his attempt past Goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo to even the game at 1-1.
After finishing out the first half tied, Orlando began the second half on the attack. In the 48th minute, Burke surged down the right hand side- floating a ball to a waiting Dom Dwyer on the back post. The USL PRO leading scorer whipped his header attempt into the back left corner, giving the Lions a 2-1 lead.
Orlando continued to push forward, resulting in a costly mistake by Colorado Goalkeeper Steward Ceus in the 57th minute. After getting free past the Rapids backline, Dwyer had a 1-on-1 with Ceus, with the goalkeeper making a last-ditch effort by tackling the Cuckfield, native, just outside the 6-yard box. The tackle resulted in a straight red, leaving the Rapids down a man heading into the final 30 minutes of the match.
It didn’t take long for Orlando to capitalize on the man-up advantage. Former Orlando City U23s Midfielder Adama Mbengue played a great ball through to Long Tan on the edge of the box in the 63rd minute, with the former DC United Striker finding Dwyer on the reception of his pass. Dwyer converted past the newly-subbed Clint Irwin for the 3-1 lead. Orlando controlled possession to close out the match, topping the Rapids with the final score 3-1.
The win marked a few firsts for the Lions, including the club’s first win over an MLS side in Open Cup play and first time advancing to the 4th round of competition.
At time of distribution, the winner of the Des Moines Menace (PDL) and Sporting Kansas City (MLS) was not determined. Whichever club wins will play Orlando in the 4th round, with the Lions traveling to Sporting Park to play SKC in case the MLS club prevails while hosting the PDL side in Orlando if the Menace win. The match will be on Wednesday, June 12. Orlando is the official USL PRO affiliate of Sporting KC.