Ismael Tajouri-Shradi brace pushes NYCFC past Orlando
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi celebrating the opener with Anton Tinnerholm. | Photo: New York City FC

Orlando City SC took a trip up north to take on fellow 2015 MLS expansion side, New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. A heavily injured defensive list saw Orlando form a makeshift backline while NYCFC's much smaller injury list mixed with looking ahead to future games, saw them make some surprise changes as well.

First Half

NYCFC nearly struck first in the third minute as some good buildup ended up with Jesus Medina rising highest to meet Maxi Moralez's cross with the shot just scraping the crossbar before going over.

In the eighteenth minute, Sebastien Ibeagha made a mistake which saw Josue Colman find himself through on goal. Thankfully for the hosts, Alex Ring recovered well and blocked the shot. The next big chance came for Jo Inge Berget in the 22nd minute as Anton Tinnerholm's low cross found him brilliantly. The Norwegian couldn't tuck home the opportunity and the score remained 0-0.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi was the beneficiary of Will Johnson slip up in his own box, but when he played the ball to the middle of the box, Berget decided he didn't want to score as he stopped his run and allowed the ball to roll and the chance to go to waste.

Unafraid to take things into his own hands and his play his confidence, Tajouri-Shradi made an overlapping run and was rewarded with a pass from Anton Tinnerholm. He cut the ball onto his left foot sending Donny Toia sliding by and curled the ball past Joe Bendik to give his side a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi celebrating the opener. | Photo: New York City FC
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi celebrating the opener. | Photo: New York City FC

Neither side found the back of the net in the remaining decade of minutes of the half and NYCFC went into the break with a 1-0 advantage.

Second Half

A quick throw-in from Orlando so Alexander Callens bring down Chris Mueller in the box giving Orlando a penalty in the opening minutes of the half. Sacha Kljestan stepped up, beat Sean Johnson, but didn't beat the post. The score remained 1-0.

Chances came and went for both sides but Josue's Colman effort in the 75th minute which hit the crossbar was the closest the visitors went to equalizing the game. Missed chances don't work out in your favor when you're playing NYCFC.

On his eighth shot of the season, Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored his seventh goal of the season as his curled free kick from the side of the box found the back of the net through multiple bodies. The forward was then substituted off for Jonathan Lewis minutes later.

In the closing moments, Jonathan Lewis' nifty footwork gave Jesus Medina a chance. His shot hit the crossbar and David Villa's bicycle kick rebound attempt hit the crossbar as well. Third time is the charm as Maxi Moralez swooped in and tapped the ball into the net to give the hosts a three-goal lead.

Three goals was enough for NYCFC as the hosts left the field in celebration picking up another three points at Yankee Stadium. Orlando, on the other hand, will be looking forward to Dom Dwyer and co. to return to the team.

What's Next?

For the hosts, they'll be preparing for a Hudson River Derby match as they head over to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls in the US Open Cup. After that, they'll return home for back-to-back home matches. First up, they'll host a strong Atlanta United team which could see the winner move top of the Supporters' Shield table. Then, they'll welcome a struggling Toronto FC to Yankee Stadium.

As for Orlando, they'll have what should be an easy clash with Miami United in US Open Cup before traveling up north for two matches against Canadian opposition. First will be the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place. Then, they'll have a meeting with the Montreal Impact to end their stay in Canada.