Minus overtime or penalty kicks, it does not get as dramatic a finish as what Open Cup fans witnessed from Frisco’s Pizza Hut Park Tuesday night in the Third Round of the tournament. With the host Major League Soccer side FC Dallas leading the third division Orlando City, the visitors leveled the score in stoppage time only to see the home side answer back moments later nearly at the death for a 3-2 victory.
It was a head-spinning turn of events as FC Dallas looked to be headed toward a quarterfinal match against Real Salt Lake when Yordany Alvarez stunned everyone with a blast from outside the penalty area to tie the match at 2-2. It was his second attempt as goalkeeper Kevin Hartman had tipped away a shot moments before by Alvarez, who defected from the Cuban national team in 2008 and signed with the Austin Aztex, moving with much of the team to create Orlando City this offseason.
Less than a minute later though Milton Rodriguez headed a Jackson cross by Miguel Gallardo to avert a trip into overtime for the 2010 MLS Cup runners-up. It was a second effort on Jackson’s initial corner that was not cleared.
Orlando City, back on domestic soil after a Friday-Sunday double-dip road trip to Antigua on the weekend, had one last gasp seconds later at the other end, but were unable to find another miracle tally.
It was a heartbreaking finish for Orlando City, who had initially taken the lead in the match courtesy of USL Pro leading scorer Maxwell Griffin, who finished a great play. Midfielder Lewis Neal crossed the ball to Kevin Molina at the back post for a flick back to the center of the six, where Griffin would rise above Ugo Ihemelu for the opening strike of the game 24 minutes in.
The man who set up the winner would provide the Dallas equalizer in the 39th minute, picking up a long ball behind the defense from Ricardo Villar and placing a shot past Gallardo for a level score at the break. It was his third consecutive match with a goal in all competitions.
Five minutes into the second stanza Villar put himself on the highlight reel with a 20-yard free kick from the left side that looped inside the far post for a 2-1 Dallas lead.
TheCup.us Match MVP: Jackson
ORL – Max Griffin (Kevin Molino) 24th min.
DAL – Jackson (Ricardo Villar) 39th min.
DAL – Ricardo Villar 50th min.
ORL – Yordany Alvarez 90+ min.
DAL – Milton Rodriguez (Jackson) 90+ min.
ORL – Jerome Mechack (caution; reckless foul) 59
ORL – Max Griffin (caution; reckless foul) 61
ORL – Jack Traynor (caution; reckless foul) 68
ORL –Jamie Watson (caution; tactical foul) 72
FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd (Bruno Guarda 68), Ugo Ihemelu, Andrew Wiedeman, Jair Benitez, Bobby Warshaw, Andrew Jacobson (Eric Alexander 46), Ricardo Villar, Jackson, Brek Shea, Ruben Luna (Milton Rodriguez 52).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Moises Hernandez, Peri Marosevic, Victor Ulloa.
Orlando City SC – Miguel Gallardo, Jack Traynor (Jamie Watson 69), Demar Stewart, Rob Valentino, Jerome Mechack, Erik Ustruck, Lawrence Olum, Yordany Alvarez, Lewis Neal, Max Griffin, Kevin Molino (Dennis Chin 79).
Substitutes Not Used: Sean Kelley, Luke Boden, Justin Fojo, Charlie Campbell.
Referee: Armando Villarreal
Referee’s Assistants: Greg Boles, Jonathan Johnson
4th Official: Jorge Luna Hernandez
Weather: Fair, 95 degrees