ORLANDO – It may have come a little bit later than they would’ve liked, but Orlando City SC couldn’t have asked for a more emphatic first home win of their Major League Soccer existence.
After posting a 0-3-2 record in their first five home matches of the season, expansion OCSC notched their first home win in MLS on Sunday, throttling the defending champion LA Galaxy 4-0 in front of a raucous crowd of 40,122 at the Citrus Bowl.
The Lions completely dominated the match, putting the Galaxy on the back foot from the opening whistle and not letting up until well after holding midfielder Darwin Ceren scored the team’s fourth goal in the 73rd minute.
Orlando were equally strong on the defensive side, only allowing LA one shot on goal, with that effort not coming until the 88th.
“[I’m] delighted for everybody connected with the club, especially the supporters who have been incredible,” Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath said after the match. “I’m really pleased for the players because they’ve been working so hard. A pleasing day for everybody, for my staff and more importantly the supporters.”
The Lions’ four goals were a season high for the expansion team, and highlighted an extremely strong performance against a quality LA side.
Goalkeeper Tally Hall – who made his first appearance for Orlando on Saturday after recovering from a knee injury suffered last year with Houston – said that the victory was a big confidence boost for the Lions, who had struggled in the second halves of earlier home matches.
“It’s a huge confidence boost,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s the win, it’s how we did it, it’s doing it for 90 minutes, and that is big for us.”
Orlando got a particularly strong performance from star midfielder Kaká, with the Brazilian Designated Player starting the play that led to the Lions’ first goal, assisting on the second, then drawing and converting a penalty kick for the third. Forward Cyle Larin, the No. 1 overall pick in January’s SuperDraft, also had a very solid shift, finding the back of the net in the 34th minute to give Orlando a 2-0 lead.
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OCSC also got a boost from the MLS debut of forward Martin Paterson, who came on in the 83rd minute for Brek Shea. Paterson, 28, was expected to play a large role for the Lions in the early going, but hadn’t played prior to Sunday due to a hamstring injury suffered in preseason.
It was a long awaited debut for the Northern Irish forward, who was deservedly thrilled with the team’s statement home win – a victory that moved the Lions into fifth-place in the East with a 3-5-3 record.
“It was only a matter of time until we turned this tide at home,” he said. “I think we got what we deserved, and our players got what we deserved. I don’t think the next team will look forward to coming in here. I think this can be a fortress, and now we can turn the tide and really put teams to the sword.”