A solid match between two good teams as Santos Laguna edges Orlando City 1-0 in the opening round of the 2021 Leagues Cup. Juan Ferney Otero’s goal in the 27th minute proved to be the difference.
As good as the game turned out to be, neither team looked especially sharp to start off. Nani had a decent look just two minutes in, but his shot was well over the net. Santos had a good chance five minutes in when a sloppy pass in the back allowed Juan Ferney Otero to pick the pass off, although the resulting shot pinged around in traffic before Mason Stajduhar pushed it out for a corner. Nani had a nice shot in the ninth minute after driving in centrally from the wing, but this shot too went over the bar.
As the game went on, the teams started to settle into a rhythm. Santos was the more offensive of the teams, however Orlando countered with hard fouls that disrupted play and didn’t allow Santos to get creative looks at goal. In the 20th Santos was able to get a good run forward but in a three-on-two situation Jordan Carrillo shot wide, possibly not seeing the open Ignacio Jeraldino out to his left. A corner kick in the 25th was headed on frame but Stajduhar was there to make the easy save. At the other end it was Ruan who got his head onto a floated cross but put it over the bar in the 27th minute. Two minutes later Santos would strike when Otero took a pass out on the left, cut in toward the center, and hit a right-footed shot that skipped past Stajduhar.
After the goal Orlando was able to gain control of possession, but Santos defended well and kept them largely at bay. Santos did well to protect the lead, doing enough to keep Orlando honest and not be able throw everything forward. Santos took a deserved 1-0 lead into the locker rooms at halftime.
To start the second half Santos looked in control but Orlando had a good chance in the 48th when Mauricio Pereyra fired a shot that ricocheted through traffic and wound up missing the net by just a bit. Had it been on frame goalkeeper Gibran Lajud would have stood no chance to getting to it. In the 51st David Andrade came close on a shot from distance but it too wound up just wide of the net.
As the game went on, both sides slowed down considerably in the muggy Florida evening. In the 63rd minute Nani had a good look at goal, hitting a strong shot that Lajud punched aside. Júnior Urso’s follow-up shot went well wide of goal. Orlando kept pushing but were largely unable to make it through an increasingly congested midfield. Santos did well to close things down and anticipate passes. Jesús Isijara was able to win the ball deep in stoppage time and drive down, hitting a shot that Stajduhar made a solid stop on. The whistle blew, and Junior Urso and Antonio Carlos exploded at the referees, with Urso seeing a red card and both players having to be physically restrained.
Santos returns home to Torreón to host Chivas this Sunday. while Orlando is off until they play Nashville SC away on Wednesday, August 18th.
Orlando City SC: Mason Stajduhar; João Moutinho (Emmanuel Mas, 85’), Robin Jansson, Antônio Carlos, Ruan (Kyle Smith, 87’); Mauricio Pereyra (David Loera, 87’), Júnior Urso, Andrés Perea, Chris Mueller (Silvester Van der Water, 58’); Nani, Tesho Akindele (Benji Michel, 58’)
Santos Laguna: Gibran Lajud; David Andrade, Félix Torres, Matheus Dória, Ismael Govea; Roni Prieto (Edgar Games, 80’), Fernando Gorriarán; Jordan Carrillo (Jesús Isijara, 80’), Diego Valdés (Andrés Avila, 74’), Juan Ferney Otero (Emilio Orrantia, 87’); Ignacio Jeraldino (Alberto Ocejo, 74’)
Scoring: Orlando City SC - None; Santos Laguna - Juan Ferney Otero (30’)
Disciplinary: Orlando City SC - Nani (Yellow - 15’), Tesho Akindele (Yellow - 48’), Júnior Urso (Yellow - 85’, Red - Full Time); Santos Laguna - Guillermo Almada (Yellow - 81’)