Orlando City 3, Minnesota United 1 | MLS is Back Tournament Match Recap

Orlando City SC are into the MLS is Back Tournament Final presented by Wells Fargo, using a Nani first-half brace to knock off Minnesota United 3-1 on Thursday night in the semifinals.

The Lions, who are chasing their first major trophy in club history, will face the Portland Timbers next Tuesday in the championship match (8:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN, TVA Sports 2 in Canada).

Nani first broke though in the 36th minute, collecting a long ball from center back Robin Jansson. The Lions’ captain used a beautiful first touch to set up his eventual finish past Tyler Miller, giving his side a 1-0 lead.

The Portuguese winger found his second in the 42nd minute, curling home a right-footed beauty to the far post as Minnesota’s defense dropped off. That gave Orlando a 2-0 advantage heading into halftime.

Sparked by several attacking subs, Minnesota finally found their first shot on target in the 75th minute. Following a scuffle, Raheem Edwards’ blistering free kick was pawed over the net by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.  The dam eventually broke in the 83rd minute, as Mason Toye clawed one back for the Loons. He gathered a stunning through ball from Kevin Molino and slid a left-footed shot underneath Gallese to make it 2-1. 

Minnesota sent both center backs forward late in search of an equalizer, but it was the Lions who next found net. Benji Michel was sprung through on a counter-attack and calmly rounded Miller in the 96th minute to seal the 3-1 result.

Goals

  • 36' – ORL – Nani | WATCH
  • 42' – ORL – Nani | WATCH
  • 83' – MIN – Mason Toye | WATCH
  • 90' (+6) – ORL – Benji Michel | WATCH

Man of the Match presented by Heineken

We're not going to overcomplicate this one, meaning the nod goes to Nani. The 33-year-old recorded a first-half brace, powering Orlando City to the championship match. 

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Orlando haven’t made the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in their first five seasons as a club, and now they’re one game away from lifting a trophy. They've enjoyed a quick, remarkable rise under head coach Oscar Pareja. As for Minnesota, the Tournament was still largely a success even though it ended prematurely.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: The curling effort on Nani’s second goal was a pure delight. Chalk it up to a world-class player making a world-class play.
  • YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Mason Toye last scored for Minnesota on Sept. 1, 2019 at LAFC. It’s been a long time coming for the US youth international.

Next Up

  • ORL: Tuesday, Aug. 11 vs. Portland Timbers, MLS is Back Tournament Final (8:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN, TVA Sports 2 in Canada)
  • MIN: End of Tournament
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