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Orlando City Earns A Home Win Over L.A. Galaxy

Exploria Stadium was rocking last night as Orlando City's stars aligned with a 2-0 win over L.A. Galaxy.

 

A home win, their first since the February 28th opening day, saw the Lions dominate L.A Galaxy before 22,519 at a rainy but loud Exploria Stadium. A rotated lineup that finally included a once-again healthy Ercan Kara yielded a strong performance, one that may put the concerns of many to bed, especially coming off a dismal 3-1 home loss to D.C. United. Here are a few takes from last night's match:

  • Due to fixture congestion, injuries, or just getting back to basics, Orlando City manager Oscar Pareja put out a starting eleven with a back four that included Kyle Smith and Mikey Halliday, as well as a midfield that included Peruvian Wilder Cartagena for the injured Mauricio Pereyra. These changes paid dividends as Halliday and Smith got forward often, putting tremendous pressure on the Galaxy from the opening kickoff. The center midfield combination of Cartagena and César Araújo were fantastic, both with their distribution, pass selection, and ball-winning. I am a fan of Cartagena, a 28-year-old who has great presence and tactical awareness, and the willingness to get into the tough tackle. This all stems from his twenty-two appearances with Peru, in tough South American competitions including World Cup qualifying and Copa America. Most importantly, Cartagena fills the void when Mauricio Pereyra is not available. I also cannot say enough about Cartagena's midfield partner last night, 22-year-old Uruguayan César Araújo. This youngster continues to do a great deal of heavy lifting in Orlando's midfield and has become one of the league's best box-to-box players. This scenario all goes back to the work put in by Luis Muzzi and Oscar Pareja to build a deep player pool.

  • Where would Orlando City be without goalkeeper Pedro Gallese? His shot-stopping ability is bare none in Major League Soccer and he brings that constant leadership and command from the back. Gallesse earned his third shutout of the season last night with the help of stalwart center backs Antonio Carlos and Robin Jansson. Both kept the dangerous striker duo of Chicharito and Dejan Joveljic in relative check - along with Gallese's tremendous point-blank save in the 83rd minute.

  • Ercan Kara got last night's start and looked very good. His hold-up play is bar none and he showed his experience with great 'double-runs' that produced the first goal of the night off of great service by Mikey Halliday. Should manager Oscar Pareja ever decide to change the shape of the team, I would enjoy seeing rookie Duncan McGuire and Kara start up front. Those two would be formidable up against any defenders in this league.

Orlando City, after nine games, is 4-2-3 for fourteen points. There is still that unsightly stat of scoring only ten goals through the first nine games, but last night's performance was a bright light that will hopefully continue this Saturday at Stade Saputo in Montreal. Montreal sits down near the bottom of the eastern conference table and has given up seventeen goals through nine games. This away match is a good opportunity for Orlando to grab three points before they head to Columbus on Saturday, May 13.


Gary Levitt @gary1123 justmytake.net

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