Orlando City SC has reached the second round of the MLS playoffs after a memorable penalty series. The hero role in the duel with New York City was for defender Rodrigo Schlegel, who stopped the decisive penalty kick as goalkeeper.
Referee and players have lost count
After the game ended in 1-1 after regular time and extra time, Maximiliano Moralez made an immediate error in the penalty shootout on behalf of New York. When goalkeeper Pedro Gallese also stopped the last penalty from Valentín Castellanos, the party could begin for Orlando.
From that moment on, however, the remarkable moments succeeded each other in rapid succession. The VAR concluded that Gallese had come off his line too early and that the penalty had to be repeated. Moreover, the foul Gallese ended up on a second yellow card. After almost ten minutes, reserve keeper Brian Rowe was ready to take over the place under the bar, but suddenly the arbitration concluded that Orlando had already used up all the substitutions.
In the end it was defender Schlegel who was forced to put on the goalkeeper gloves. He was beaten by Castellanos, who did not fail in the second chance. For Orlando, nothing seemed to be the matter yet, because Nani was allowed to play for the deciding penalty kick. However, the Portuguese former Manchester United player failed.
Nani’s miss was not fatal to Orlando, because Schlegel managed to rise above himself. The occasional goalkeeper made a good save on a bet from Gudmundur Thórarinsson, after which the home team celebrated the victory for the second time that evening.
For app users: click on the tweet to view Schlegel’s rescue.
Again that turned out to be premature, because the referee, who, like the players in all the turmoil, had lost count, concluded after a while that it was 5-5, and that Orlando had to take another penalty. This was used by Benji Michel (6-5), who sent Orlando to the next round.
“I’ve been through a lot in my career, but this experience is unique,” Nani concluded in the revelry. Trainer Oscar Pareja spoke of an “insane night.” “I think we will need quite some time to realize what happened here.”
Orlando will play against Philadelphia Union of New England Revolution in the quarter-finals. The play-offs in the United States, for which coach Jaap Stam’s FC Cincinnati was unable to qualify, end on December 12.