Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Orlando emergency keeper's game-winning save is soccer's 'position player pitches perfect inning'

Orlando City defender Rodrigo Schlegel, left, celebrates after blocking the final New York City FC penalty kick during overtime of an MLS soccer playoff match.
Orlando City defender Rodrigo Schlegel, left, celebrates after blocking the final New York City FC penalty kick during overtime of an MLS soccer playoff match.
Image: (AP)

Rodrigo Schlegel is a defender for Orlando City SC … and now the most legendary goalie in franchise history.

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OK, so Orlando City SC has only been playing since 2015, but Schlegel is going to live in Central Florida soccer lore for generations after his save in Saturday’s penalty shootout against NYCFC helped lift the Lions to their first-ever playoff victory.

Was it a particularly good penalty taken by Gudmundur Thorarinsson? No. Does that matter? Also no.

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Schlegel was pressed into action because Pedro Gallese, whose heroics in regulation had helped get Orlando City to the shootout, was shown his second yellow card of the game and sent off after a video review showed he was slightly off his line to make a save. That meant, in the middle of the shootout — and after considerable deliberation — that Orlando City had to put a field player in goal.

That was Schlegel, and that was how he became a hero. Bejji Michel stepped to the spot next, and in one of the top “ball don’t lie” moments you’ll ever see, scored to give Orlando City the victory.

Reaction on Twitter was not mixed:

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Just another moment in November 2020 that makes Proud Boys types sad after thinking they’d had victory in the bag. You love to see it, don’t you?

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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