Orlando City win U.S. Open Cup to capture 1st trophy of MLS era
Miami, Sept 8, 2022 (AFP) - Facundo Torres scored two second-half goals to power Orlando City over Sacramento 3-0 on Wednesday in the US Open Cup final, delivering the Major League Soccer club its first trophy.
The host Lions hoisted their first hardware since joining MLS eight seasons ago and also earned a berth in next year's CONCACAF Champions League before a sellout crowd of more than 25,000 spectators.
Orlando City took a 1-0 lead in the 75th minute on a left-footed shot from outside the box into the top left corner by 22-year-old Uruguayan midfielder Torres.
The goal came off an assist from US reserve forward Benji Michel, who entered in the 61st minute.
Michel was fouled in the penalty area by Sacramento's Dan Casey and Torres converted the penalty in the 80th minute, blasting a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner to double the Lions' lead.
Michel netted the final goal six minutes into stoppage time on a right-footed shot from the heart of the box.
The US Open Cup final returned this year after going unplayed the past two years due to Covid-19.
It was a heartbreak finish for the second-tier United Soccer League champion Sacramento Republic, the first non-MLS squad in the Open Cup final since 2008.
Not since the Rochester Rhinos beat Colorado in the 1999 final has a lower-division side captured the US Open Cup.
Sacramento's fairy-tale run has included victories over three MLS sides -- the San Jose Earthquakes, Los Angeles Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City.
Orlando City, which played all six US Open Cup matches on its home pitch, had previously come closest to a trophy in 2020 when they fell to Portland in the MLS is Back championship game, played in a bubble setting in Orlando due to Covid-19.
Orlando City has a chance to complete the US double by capturing the MLS Cup playoff crown. The club ranks fifth in the Eastern Conference and on the verge of clinching a third consecutive trip to the MLS playoffs.
It was the second US Open Cup title for Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja. The Colombian guided FC Dallas to the 2016 crown.
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