Junior de Almeida's early goal, and a stout defense led by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, was enough for visiting Orlando City SC to deliver a 1-0 victory over FC Cincinnati on Saturday.
Orlando City (12-8-9, 45 points) snapped a nine-match road winless streak (0-5-4) and earned a crucial three points to remain in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with five games to play.
Gallese stopped three shots to earn his seventh shutout of the season and the 10th of his two-year MLS career.
The Lions got all the scoring they would need in the 13th minute when de Almeida ripped a two-bounce right-footed shot from 25 yards into the lower right corner of the net after a pass from Ruan Teixeira. The shot de Almeida took was into the small window to the left of Cincinnati goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton, who never had a chance at the save.
Tyton kept FC Cincinnati in the match with a sterling save in the 77th minute on a point-blank shot by Benji Michel. The shot bounced away from Tyton but was cleared off the line by Nick Hagglund before Orlando could get off another attempt.
Orlando narrowly missed on another scoring chance in the 84th minute when Tesho Akindele clanged a shot off the crossbar.
The matchup was even throughout, with Orlando outshooting Cincinnati 18-9, placing more shots on goal (5-3), and amassing a edge in blocked shots and corners. FC Cincinnati had advantages in possession percentage (52.5-47.5 percent), total passes (506-454) and passing accuracy (82-81.9 percent), but lost on the scoreboard.
Orlando City won at Cincinnati for the first time ever and has a 2-0-2 all-time record in the series.
Cincinnati (4-17-8, 20 points) has not won since beating Toronto 2-0 at home on Sept. 11. It has dropped seven straight games since, setting the club mark for consecutive defeats, with five of those setbacks coming by a single goal and four of the losses at home.
FC Cincinnati has already been eliminated from playoff contention.
--Field Level Media