Pre-Season: Orlando City 1-3 Arsenal highlight

Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson scored second-half goals to give us another victory in a hard-fought pre-season friendly in Orlando.

Gabriel Martinelli gave us an early lead, but the hosts, backed up by a boisterous crowd, equalised before halftime.

We finally defeated our MLS opponents, making it four victories out of four in the regular season.

The kick-off at Orlando City’s Exploria Stadium was delayed by an hour due to a violent rainstorm before the game.
When the game finally started, it didn’t take long for us to score. Martinelli had just been on the field for five minutes when he exchanged passes with Sambi Lokonga inside the area, and his shot deflected past goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

When that, there were few chances, and despite looking comfortable in control, Aaron Ramsdale was called in midway through the half to deny Benji Michel after the winger sprang the offside trap. When one-on-one, the goalie grew in size to save with his legs.

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But Ramsdale couldn’t hold off the following attempt. Facundo Torres equalised from 20 yards out, tucking his ball low inside the post and sending the capacity crowd berserk.

Orlando City is halfway through its MLS season and presently sits sixth in the Eastern Conference. They will face the New York Red Bulls in the US Open Cup semi-finals next week. Their sharpness was palpable, as was their dedication.

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In the first 20 minutes, there were three yellow cards.

We began to respond. Nketiah received a cushioned header from a corner, but he was closed down in the six-yard area as he took his shot.

He found himself in the box again shortly before halftime, but this time pulled his attempt just wide.

At halftime, the manager made five substitutions, including Gabriel Jesus, who tested the goalie within 60 seconds of his entrance.

He then turned his man in the area before having his shot from a tight angle deflected away from him.

Lokonga was the next to try his luck before our sustained pressure resulted in the second goal.

Jesus, who has been on fire since entering the game, twisted his man in the box and seemed to be fouled, but the ball dropped to strike partner Nketiah, who made no mistake.

 

Nelson, who had only just come off the bench, scored his third goal off Bukayo Saka’s cross.

 

Arteta’s men continued their pre-season march with another solid performance.

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There has been much talk tying Zinchenko to a move to Arsenal, and Mikel Arteta said after the game that a trade may be completed shortly, subject to the regulatory procedure.

“Yeah, as you can see, he’s here,” the manager remarked during the post-match news conference. “There are still a few formalities to go through, but we’re thrilled to welcome him.”

“I know the guy very well; he’s a fantastic footballer and someone who will add another competitive element to that dressing room.”

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Arteta tutored the 25-year-old while he was an assistant manager at Manchester City, and he believes his versatility will provide more choices.

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