Late goal gives Orlando City SC first-ever MLS loss


Bryce Brimhall / Valencia Voice

Orlando City SC held 62.6 percent of possession against Vancouver in the 1-0 loss.

ORLANDO — Raul Octavio Rivero headed in a free kick from Pedro Morales six minutes into stoppage time to give the Vancouver Whitecaps a 1-0 win over Orlando City SC in front of an announced crowd of 31,072 at the Citrus Bowl on Saturday.

Orlando City (1-1-1) had controlled the majority of possession for much of the match, but a foul by Darwin Ceren during stoppage time set up the Morales to Rivero set piece that came six minutes into the given four minutes of stoppage time.

“When you make stupid mistakes at poor times they’re going to cost you,” said Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath following the loss. “We’ve gotten away with it a couple of times before tonight, but tonight we had silly mistakes and they come back and hurt you.”

Ceren reiterated after the game that he felt partially responsible for the loss, but that he won’t let it keep him down and he’ll use it as a learning experience moving forward.

Kaká led Orlando City with four shots but none of them were on goal. Pedro Ribero had the lone shot on goal for the Lions, which came in the first half. Orlando City maintained 62.6 percent of possession for the game, but managed just the one shot on goal compared to Vancouver’s three.

“We created a lot of opportunities but we couldn’t score tonight,” said Kaká after the loss. “We have a lot of things to get better and we have to take advantage of this situation to improve.”

Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts had a good game in net for Orlando as he had two saves, one of which came on a Rivero breakaway during the first half that kept the game scoreless.

The loss will go down as Orlando City’s first-ever in MLS history, but the bitter taste of a last-second loss won’t soon be forgotten as the Lions will look to learn from their mistakes going into their fourth game.

“Do I think we should have won the game?” Heath said after the game. “Probably not, I think a draw would have been a fair result for the chances they had in the first half, but we certainly didn’t deserve to lose it.”

Orlando’s next game will be against the Montreal Impact at Saputo Stadium on Saturday, March 28 at 4 p.m. The Lions’ next home game will be the following week against D.C. United on Friday, April 3.

“This week will be so important for us,” said Kaká. “To understand how the team is going to take this loss, so I think it’s going to be so important, we have to keep working and keep trying.”