July 14, 2024
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Concacaf Champions Cup Cavalry

Recap: Orlando Takes Lion’s Share Of Chances, Spoils Cavalry’s Continental Debut

By on February 21, 2024 0 989 Views

Cavalry FC opened its Concacaf Champions Cup account tonight, but dropped its ‘home’ result in Langford against visitors Orlando City.

Tommy Wheeldon Jr. had made no bones about it in the preamble to the match: he felt like it was a Rocky IV matchup with his side as the underdogs, and despite a brave showing from his Albertan side it would be Orlando exiting the first leg with a three-goal advantage, with Oscar Pareja having fielded a full first team against his CPL opposition.

Flashback: Northern Tribune’s Cavalry vs Orlando City Preview

The Concacaf tone was set early when referee Juan Gabriel Calderon handed Marco Carducci a yellow before the match even started for a team huddle deemed to take too long.

The opening ten minutes saw Cavalry open on the front foot with a fearless high press. We speculated Orlando would play a fast counter, however, and the MLS visitors were quick to carve out some big opportunities against the opening run of play which required Cavalry defenders to come up with some big blocks.

The CPL hosts would rue would could have opened the match in the fourteenth minute when Charlie Trafford bowled over an Orlando defender and – with no whistle coming – looked capable of setting up a tidy finish, but miscued his ball in.

The deadlock was broken by the visitors 21 minutes into the match with another fast counter seeing Kobza beaten on the flank as Orlando tore down the pitch to deliver a tidy cross to McGuire, who we highlighted as a dangerman. The 23-year-old continued to prove potent against Canadian opposition, finishing the chance cleanly to give first blood to Orlando.

German forward Tobias Warschewski – playing his first pro game since his Eddies days – nearly provided an on-a-dime assist for Camargo a few minutes later, but the midfielder couldn’t make contact in front of the goalkeeper and Cavalry were left ruing the near-equalizer.

The first half continued to be a fairly open game with plenty of back-and-forth action and some physical fouls, but Orlando would add a second goal before it came to a close: Facundo Torres cut inside on another counter and fired his shot near-post, catching Carducci out on a shot that he’d certainly want back.

The second half wouldn’t see Cavalry carve out much by way of opportunity, with the visitors doing would to prove on counters while stifling opportunities when the hosts did break into the final third

Orlando came inches from a third goal after a lapse in concentration from William Akio saw Orlando quickly fire a shot that rattled the crossbar, with a sea of red defenders able to stuff out any follow-ups.

That wouldn’t last long, however, with a dazzling series of passes from Orlando seeing Cavalry caught out on the counter before Facundo tallied a brace for himself in the 74th.

One of Cavalry’s best opportunities came late on when forward engine Sergio Camargo squared up a ball into the box that was cleared only as far as Cavalry debutant Diego Gutierrez, who fired a rocket that looked destined for an open section of net if not for the soon-to-be sore head of Orlando defender.

At the final whistle, it was clear that Cavalry hadn’t shied away from the match, but were ultimately caught on by the pace of some clever counters and cutting passes from their MLS Visitors. Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side now has it all to do in leg two next Tuesday, with Orlando having procured three big away goals at Starlight Stadium.

Should Cavalry bow out of the competition, all three Canadian teams in the competition will have bowed out in the opening round of the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup following Forge’s defeat to Chivas and the Whitecaps’ loss to Tigres.

Header Image Photo Credit: Orlando City SC

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