Cardiac Cats! Orlando City show "character" in 7-goal thriller


Game of the season? Orlando City SC's 4-3 win over the Columbus Crew on Saturday evening certainly made a strong case.

Ramiro Enrique's 97th-minute strike gave the Lions a last-second win after facing a 3-1 deficit midway through the second half. With the three points, Orlando move into second place in the Eastern Conference standings and are in the driver's seat for home-field advantage in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.

"Today was another demonstration of the character of this group," head coach Óscar Pareja said afterward. "I want to honor that responsibility and that desire to overcome. It's not easy to score goals when the team doesn't look good, and after [going behind] 3-1, the team believed in the process, believed in the ways, and we kept the mentality intact."

The Lions have flown under the radar in quietly becoming one of the most in-form teams in the league. They haven't lost since Leagues Cup wrapped in mid-August (4W-0L-1D) and own just one league loss since mid-June.

As Orlando showcase their strength, Pareja feels they're not the finished product.

"We're still a team who can compete in the playoffs for big things. We know who we are," he said. "The boys are getting there. We will keep getting better."

Orlando demonstrated that improvement during their win over Columbus. They were outclassed for much of the match, torn apart twice by the visitors on goals from Diego Rossi and Cucho Hernández that seemed sure to send the Crew home with the win. Yet Pareja used the hydration break to rally the troops and spark one of the most dramatic comebacks in club history.

"In the break, 'we have 15 minutes', we said. 'We have 15 minutes and we're going to give all we have. We can do it. We're not going to tie it, we're going to win it.' I felt that energy from them," said Pareja.

"We went for them, and we got them."