Cyle Larin fought through Steve Birnbaum's bear hug to head home Will Johnson's free kick in the 66th minute, Giles Barnes added a late strike from distance that squeezed through Bill Hamid's hands, and Orlando City SC completed a much-needed 1-0 victory over D.C. United on Wednesday night.
Larin's eighth goal of the season and Barnes' fourth of his career against D.C. snapped the Lions' six-match winless stretch and halted United's away unbeaten run at three matches.
D.C. had plenty of chances, coming closest when defender Jonathan Spector cleared Lamar Neagle's 75th-minute effort off the line. But United has lost four of five while going 485 minutes -- more than five full matches -- without a goal from anywhere other than the penalty spot.
- BARNES AND A STORM: The Jamaican international Barnes made a positive impact almost immediately after his 59th-minute entrance, but he will likely bashfully accept his first goal in an Orlando shirt after Hamid failed to corral what looked a routine save. In fairness to Hamid, the gaffe came after Orlando City Stadium was soaked with rain for hours, and likely didn’t influence the outcome. Not to mention the ‘keeper almost single-handedly earned D.C. its last victory four days earlier in Vancouver.
- MISSING IN ACTION: With Kaká out with a calf issue for Orlando and D.C. missing a pair of strikers in suspended Jose Guillermo Ortiz and injured Patrick Mullins (knee), both teams were without key attacking options. United's absences ended up being more glaring, especially after halftime for a club shut out for an eighth time this season. First, Julian Buescher blasted a wide-open opportunity set up by Neagle well over the crossbar in the 57th minute. Then Neagle seized on a poor backpass to get around Bendik, only to fire a finish that Spector could reach with a lunging leg.
- NOT TO THE SPOT: Orlando and D.C. both could've brought cases for a first-half penalty. United didn't react, but replays showed that Larin’s arm making contact with the ball inside the area in the 15th minute. Then in first-half stoppage time, Orlando’s Scott Sutter was furious that Allen Chapman didn’t believe Buescher had caught the back of Sutter's leg as he lost his footing.