Orlando City advances to Eastern Conference semi-final with 9 men against New York City after a surreal penalty shootout

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Orlando City defender, Rodrigo Schlegel won’t forget the clash between New York City FC and his team in a hurry after being the team’s saviour in the penalty shootout that took them to the semi-final of the Eastern Conference of the MLS.

The two teams made history on Saturday night after being involved in one of the most surreal penalty shootouts in MLS history. The host survived an incredible sequence of events to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals.

After the normal regulation and extra time, the contest ended 1-1. The match appeared destined for a straightforward the Lions victory after goalkeeper Pedro Gallese made what appeared to be a decisive save from Valentin Castellanos’ spot-kick.

Rodrigo Schlegel was the saviour of the day for Orlando City against New York City in the MLS Eastern Conference

This made the jubilant coach of the host team, Óscar Pareja ran into the dressing room thinking they had secured an important victory, only to be called back. Gallese was adjudged to have jumped off his line early after a review. He was shown a second yellow card for the infraction. He had been booked in the second half for time-wasting after his team had been down to ten men in the game.

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There appeared to be a bend to the law when the referee, Allen Chapman, initially allowed Orlando’s second keeper, Brian Rowe, in. This led to confusion as the Chapman looked to be confused after being told in the VAR room that it is against the rules, to the frustration of Rowe.

After much confusion about Gallesse’s replacement, defender Rodrigo Schlegel ultimately stepped in between the sticks.

The shootout went to sudden death. A heroic save from Schlegel was the difference as it first led to even more confusion as the hosts thought they had won the game since New York City was the first penalty taker.

The refereee insisted that the hosts must take their spotkick. The responsibility was handed over to Benji Michel, who slotted home the winning effort to give the Lions a 6-5 victory on penalties.

Orlando City will now face the winner between Philadelphia or the New England Revolution in the next round on Nov. 29.

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Orlando records first playoff win in Eastern Conference against New York City as Rodrigo Schlegel saves the day

Orlando has eventually secured their first playoff win as a franchise. They have now joined the big boys, all thanks to an outfield player in Schlegel.

With this kind of performance from the Argentine defender,  who is on loan at the club from Argentine Primera División side Racing Club, the US club could sign him on a permanent deal.

As soon as Galesse was given the marching order, he was ready to take the gloves as the team was on the brink of history. He eventually got his chance and emerge victoriously. Either Orlando eventually made his loan deal permanent or not, he is already a hero.

The Nani led team now has the opportunity to try further and see if they can reach the final.

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