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Orlando City drew 1-1 with New York Red Bulls in front of 31,264 fans at the renamed Camping World Stadium in Orlando this evening.
Orlando made the early running in the game as both Cyle Larin and Kaká went close to opening the scoring in the 3rd and 15th minutes respectively. It was the Red Bulls who went 1-0 up in the 19th minute as Bradley Wright-Phillips took a clever through ball from Sacha Kljesten and slotted home past Joe Bendik in the Orlando goal.
The game then turned niggly with some unnecessary yellow cards for Rafael Ramos and Kaká before Larin and the excellent Ronald Zubar clashed heads from a Brek Shea cross in the 32nd minute. In the dying moments of the first half referee Ted Unkel awarded Orlando a penalty as Larin was wrestled to the floor by the returning Aurélien Collin (pictured below -78) who had been traded to the Red Bulls by the home side the week before. The referee’s assistant, however, called Unkel over and between them they overturned the penalty decision for a debatable offside call against Seb Hines.
A poor quality first half, particularly by the men in purple, then drew to a close with the the Red Bulls holding the advantage.
The second half cried out for some changes but Orlando Head Coach decided to stick with what he had. It was a questionable call as Orlando offered very little down the left hand side as Antonio Nocerino and Shea concentrated on their defensive duties.
Orlando drew level through some good work by Larin who took an excellent long pass from Darwin Ceren before cutting into the box and laying the ball into the path of Kevin Molino (pictured below) who neatly finished low into the net past Luis Robles in the New York net in the 67th minute. Molino then quickly grabbed the ball and ran back to the halfway line rather than celebrate too enthusiastically his fourth goal of the season. It was a good sign for the home fans who then expected Orlando to lay siege to the Red Bulls goal.
Unfortunately, that never really came although the home side upped the work rate but only really offered any attacking threat down the right hand side from the impressive Ramos. In fact, it was New York who almost snatched the lead again in the 77th minute after some excellent work by Kljestan who worked himself free onto the edge of the six yard box before feeding the wide open Felipe who then saw his shot blocked on the goal line by Ramos who somehow managed to get himself in the right place at the right time.
A minute later Shea was lucky to stay on the field. Having already been booked in the 65th minute, Shea miss-controlled the ball and then brought down Sal Zizzo who looked to have a clean run through to goal. A red card was issued in the 85th minute as Cristian Higuita lunged in on the edge of his own box with two feet on Kljestan. The resulting free kick was wasted by New York who really should of done better to threaten the Orlando net.
Heath then made his only change of the night in the 88th minute as defensive midfielder Servando Carrasco came on for Kevin Molino.
“I was pleased with the performance. I thought it would’ve been a travesty if we hadn’t have taken something out of the game. Can’t really remember Joe [Bendik] having a save to make, so it was a big improvement. On any different night I think we could’ve gone on and won the game,” Lions head coach Adrian Heath said. “Pleased with the performance, pleased with the effort and I think it gives us something to build on.”
Orlando City now head to Children’s Mercy Park for the first time since joining Major League Soccer to take on Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, May 15. The Club then returns to the Camping World Stadium, formerly known as the Orlando Citrus Bowl, on Saturday, May 21, when it hosts the Montreal Impact at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Rafael Ramos, David Mateos, Seb Hines, Brek Shea, M Darwin Cerén, Cristian Higuita, Antonio Nocerino, Kaká, Kevin Molino (Servando Carrasco 88’), F Cyle Larin
Substitutes: GK Earl Edwards Jr., D Tommy Redding, Kevin Alston, M Adrian Winter, F Júlio Baptista
New York Red Bulls – GK Luis Robles, D Sal Zizzo (Alex Muyl 89’), Aurélien Collin, Kemar Lawrence, Ronald Zubar, M Felipe, Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam (Gonzalo Verón 64’), Sacha Kljestan, F Mike Grella, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Chris Duvall 74’)
Substitutes: GK Kyle Reynish, D Connor Lade, M Sean Davis, F Anatole Bertrand Abang
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com