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Orlando City defender Mohamed El-Munir makes critical challenge for Lions

Colorado Rapids forward Dominique Badji (14) defends as Orlando City SC defender Amro Tarek (3) passes the ball in the second half at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — For the second time this season, Mohamed El-Munir came through with a challenge to stop a goal that would have robbed points from Orlando City.

In the 92nd minute of the Lions’ 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids, El-Munir stopped what would have been the match-tying goal. Rapids midfielder Enzo Martinez sent a through ball into the penalty area, right to the feet of Dillon Serna.

Serna took a touch and fired a shot, and it deflected off El-Munir, who came sliding in to preserve the win for Orlando City. El-Munir was immediately hugged by goalkeeper Joe Bendik.

“I don’t know what I was thinking because it was so hard for us,” El-Munir said. “I couldn’t breathe most of the game. That last tackle… [Serna] was my player and he ran through me and [center back] Amro [Tarek]. I said, ‘There’s nobody who is going to do it except me.’ When he controlled the ball, I saw I had time.

With a smile, El-Munir added, “I got lucky, I can say that.”

In Orlando City’s season opener, El-Munir ran down D.C. United’s Darren Mattocks to stop United from taking a 2-0 lead during a match that eventually ended in a 1-1 draw.

Lions’ supporters make trip

According to Orlando City officials, more than 200 supporters made the trip from Orlando to Commerce City for the Lions’ 2-1 victory.

The supporters were loud throughout the match, chanting and bringing some of the atmosphere of Orlando City Stadium to Colorado.

Orlando City SC fans celebrate after a goal in the second half against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

“It’s really surprising to see that many fans that can come out here to Colorado and support us,” said midfielder Cristian Higuita. “They were really great for us.”

The announced crowd at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park was 15,702.

“Some moments, they were louder than the Colorado fans,” said forward Chris Mueller. “It’s just awesome having that sort of support everywhere you travel. It’s great.”

Mueller’s family in attendance

Speaking of fans, Mueller’s family was in attendance for Sunday’s win.

“My stepdad’s sister lives out here,” Mueller said. “They decided to take a trip, come visit the family. My dad actually lives out here so my uncle and my aunt also came down. Just kind of a lot of family came to the game. It was nice to get the win in front of them for sure.”

Mueller, a rookie, said that’s the most family he’s had at an Orlando City match.

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