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ORLANDO – Seb Hines scored the game-winning goal late in the match to help Orlando City come away with a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Impact in a must-win game for the Lions on Saturday.
“It came to me and it was just instinct to have a shot at goal,” said Hines of his game-winning goal. “Lucky for me it went in the goal and it’s amazing for the team as well.”
Hines’ goal came in the 80th minute after a corner kick by Orlando bounced around the box before Didier Drogba got a foot on it for an attempted clearance but the ball fell to Hines who finished it for his first goal of the season. Hines goal gave the Lions a 2-1 lead and allowed Orlando to sit back and defend during the final 10 minutes of regulation.
The Lions had been putting a lot of pressure on Montreal during the second half, as they got off eight shots during the second 45 minutes of a game where a loss would have eliminated Orlando from playoff contention.
“It’s never easy winning games in football that you have to win,” said Orlando manager Adrian Heath after the win. “It comes with extra pressure, winning football games is hard enough as it is without going into the game knowing that anything less than a victory won’t do it.”
Cyle Larin scored the Lions first score of the game, putting the Lions up 1-0 in the 33rd minute when he scored his 15th goal of the season, extending his MLS rookie scoring record.
Dominic Oduro tied the game at 1-1 in the 43rd minute when he scored a controversial goal off of a ball that appeared to be in the hands of Tally Hall before Oduro put a touch on it and sent it into the back of the net for his eighth in league play.
Orlando City had some misfortune early on as defenders Tommy Redding and Rafael Ramos had a nasty collision in the 4th minute that would send both players off the field on stretchers and sent Ramos to Orlando Regional Medical Center with a gash in his head.
“It’s unfortunate for Rafa and Tommy how they finished the game, I hope they’re well,” said Hines of the early injury to his teammates. “It’s just an opportunity for me and Bodz to come in and prove why we should be on the team.”
Yellow cards were handed out in bunches as seven different players were booked on Saturday, including Kaka and Brek Shea who will both miss Orlando City’s game against New York City FC due to yellow card accumulation.
With the win Orlando City move one point behind the Impact for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Montreal will play three games in seven days next week, meaning that Orlando will know where they stand in the playoff race by the time they take the field on October 16. The Lions also improved their winning streak to four games with the victory
“The momentum is confidence,” said Shea following the game. “I think once a team or player gets confidence they can’t be stopped, confidence I think is bigger than anything in this sport and I think the players have it and the team has it.”
Orlando City will now have a week off before they take on New York City FC on Friday, Oct. 16 at the Citrus Bowl in what will be the Lions’ final home game of their inaugural MLS season.