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May 17, 2024 9:44 pm

Orlando City hits road vs. goal-prone Earthquakes

Duncan McGuire

Orlando City hopes its draw against Inter Miami CF will signal a turnaround.

The Lions have struggled early this season so the scoreless tie with high-powered Inter Miami was stunning. Now the club looks to have another strong performance when it visits the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.

Miami was missing star Lionel Messi (leg) on Wednesday but that absence doesn’t diminish Orlando City’s defensive prowess. The Lions (3-5-4, 13 points) held the Herons to just six shots.

“It seems we had a sensation that we could have walked off the field with three points,” Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja said. “But I recognize it was a tight game for both teams. The effort from the players was extraordinary and they keep adapting to new things. I’m good with the performance of the team, I’m good. I think we’re going in a good direction. I think we’re turning things around.”

The Lions posted a 3-2 road win over the Philadelphia Union last weekend after going 0-2-1 over the three previous matches.

Duncan McGuire leads Orlando City with five goals.

San Jose (3-9-1, 10 points) had a chance to post a three-game MLS winning streak but let a two-goal lead get away in a 4-2 road loss to the Portland Timbers on Wednesday.

Evander’s penalty kick in the 74th minute awoke Portland’s attack and the Timbers added three more tallies against the suspect Earthquakes’ defense that has allowed a league-worst 32 goals.

Amahl Pellegrino and Hernan Lopez scored first-half goals for San Jose.

The 23-year-old Lopez has scored goals in back-to-back matches. The Argentina native has made three MLS appearances since joining the club late last month for a club record $6 million transfer fee.

“There’s things that are there that aren’t coachable, and his talent and creativity is natural,” San Jose coach Luchi Gonzalez said.

Pellegrino leads the club with four goals. Cristian Espinoza also is playing well with two goals and eight assists.

This is the first meeting between Orlando City and the Earthquakes since the Lions recorded a 5-0 home victory on June 22, 2021.

–Field Level Media

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