Orlando City SC players celebrate their Open Cup win. (Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports)
In its eighth year of existence of an MLS team, Orlando City SC secured its first trophy, capturing the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night.
Facundo Torres recorded a second-half brace as the Lions recorded a 3-0 victory over Sacramento Republic FC before a capacity crowd of 25,527 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
Sacramento was attempting to become the first non-MLS side to win an Open Cup since the Rochester Raging Rhinos accomplished the feat in 1999.
Since then it has been MLS domination.
The win also clinched a spot for Orlando in the 2023 Concacaf Champions League as the players will split $300,000 for winning the cup.
“Cheers after the final,” Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja said. “It makes it difficult to analyze the game. I think it is important to recognize that Orlando has won the first title here and we are proud of the community and the club and the players. To have this opportunity to lift this trophy means a lot against a really tough rival. [It was] a very competitive match.
“In the first 50 and 60 minutes it looked like a really tough Final. After that, we could open the score as we gained more confidence against the block that they had in the back. We are proud. Congratulations to all involved in this trophy. We are very grateful for tonight. Just have to continue and just give a lot of joy to the community.”
Torres snapped a scoreless deadlock in the 75th minute as he bent a left-footed shot past goalkeeper and Massapequa, N.Y. native Danny Vitiello.
Five minutes later, the Uruguayan doubled the lead as he converted a penalty kick after second-half substitute Benji Michel was fouled in the box.
Michel got on the scoresheet six minutes into stoppage time. He raced onto a Torres through ball from Torres and slipping home the goal.
Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese needed to make only two saves, helping the Lions end Sacramento’s dream Open Cup run after the second-division side knocked off three previous MLS teams: LA Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City.