Orlando through to semis
Orlando City manager Óscar Pareja was full of praise for his team's commitment on Friday after they defeated LAFC on penalties following a 1-1 draw in regulation.
Orlando did not miss a penalty in the shootout with Nani scoring the fifth and final penalty kick to send City through to the semi-finals of the MLS is Back Tournament.
Bradley Wright-Phillips was on target for LAFC in the 60th minute in a huge momentum swing following a penalty miss by Nani. That looked like standing up until the final minute before João Moutinho scored a dramatic equalizer for the Lions. Nani provided the cross from a corner that Moutinho nodded into the net as LAFC did not mark well in the box.
Orlando became the second team from Group A of the Group Stage to make it through to the Semifinals of the Tournament following the Philadelphia Union who beat Sporting Kansas City on Thursday. New York City FC can make it a third team from the Group to progress on Saturday when they face off with the Portland Timbers.
The Lions meanwhile will discover their next opponent when the San Jose Earthquakes, the surprise of the Tournament so far, take on Minnesota United in the remaining quarterfinal.
Pareja highlighted the work of his players after the game and they will need that same commitment on Thursday when they play with the Earthquakes or Minnesota.
"We are very proud of the group of players who have done an excellent job today," Pareja noted in the post-game press conference.
"[They] stayed in the game that needed a lot of heart and desire and determination. And I think they accomplished that in those 90+ minutes. And the game rewarded them because they were the best team on the field. They were patient in the difficult moments and I want to highlight that. That's the heart of the team and the club."
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