Orlando City manages home point in 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew

Orlando City Soccer1 Columbus Crew SC 1, Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, 19th August 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

In its first home match in nearly a month, Orlando City SC drew with Columbus Crew SC in a game they really needed to win if they were to stay in contention for the final play off spot. After taking an extraordinary eighteen points from the first seven games of the season, the Lions have now managed just thirteen points from eighteen games since.

In a torrid spell since the start of May, Orlando looked to be heading for another loss as Crew took a 35th minute lead through Lalas Abubakar. A needless free kick was given away by Donny Toia on the right hand side and Abubakar nodded home Waylon Francis’s nicely flighted ball into the box to give Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik no chance.

With Kaká cheering on from the supporters section after last weeks red card at New York Red Bulls, the Lions started positively with half chances for Will Johnson, Giles Barnes and Yoshimar Yotún in the opening exchanges.

Unfortunately, that was about as good as it got for the home side in the first half as they lacked any sort of cutting edge upfront and constantly passed the ball from side to side without getting anywhere.

Half Time: Orlando 0 Columbus 1

Orlando City Soccer1 Columbus Crew SC 1, Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, 19th August 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

The second half started in much the same vein until Lions head coach Jason Kreis finally decided to bring on substitute Dom Dwyer in the 63rd minute. The forward made an immediate impact as despite wearing a face-mask for a broken nose, he bravely challenged Crew keeper Zack Steffen from a superb cross by Scott Sutter on the right hand side.

Orlando City Soccer1 Columbus Crew SC 1, Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, 19th August 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

The challenge seemed to inspire his teammates and the tempo of the game immediately increased. The Lions pressed and pressed and they grabbed a deserved equalizer four minutes later as Cristian Higuita laid off a nicely weighted ball to Barnes who slotted home off both posts from the right hand edge of the six yard box.

Orlando then went in search of a winner while the visitors took every opportunity to waste as much time as they could. Never has a match seen so many visits to the field by a team’s medical team as Columbus managed during this game and it would be interesting to see how many miles the teams trainer actually ran himself.

In the 77th minute, Columbus was reduced to 10 men after Harrison Afful was deservedly shown a straight red card for an elbow to Yotún’s face following Video Review.

City then staged an assault on the Columbus goal in search of the game-winning goal and came close several times during the closing minutes. Dwyer looked especially dangerous and in the 5th minute of stoppage time he nearly won the game for the men in purple as he saw his header from a Carlos Rivas cross go agonizingly wide of the left hand post.

“From my point of view it’s a result we didn’t want, of course. We wanted three points in the worst possible way,” said Kreis (pictured below) after the game. “But the performance I thought was very good. It was a 10 or 15-minute spell in the first half where I felt we dropped a little bit with our level but the other 75 minutes I thought we were very good – on top of them. Frankly, I think we deserved to win this game.”

Orlando City Soccer1 Columbus Crew SC 1, Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, 19th August 2017 (Photographer: Nigel G Worrall)

When asked about the early run of form and then the downturn since May, Kreis added: “When you start that way, you start to have visions of grandeur about what the season will entail. I think that because of that it creates a new level of expectation in almost everybody, yourselves included, fans, everybody. But the truth of the matter is is that we constructed this team this year to be a little better than last year. We didn’t go out and make wholesale changes. That was one of the options that we had and we chose differently. We chose to make minor changes, to bring in a few leaders to help this team and to improve the team bit by bit, looking at it as a longer-term process. So I think our record now reflects that a little bit. Obviously I feel very, very strongly that there’s been a lot of games this year where we should’ve gotten more out of them. We should’ve gotten some draws that we ended up with losses and we should’ve gotten some wins that we ended up with ties, like tonight. But that happens. I still believe that this group is good enough and everybody else out there can think that we’re dead and we’re not. We don’t believe that we’re dead. We still have every chance to push forward and reach our objective.”

Full Time: Orlando 1 Columbus 1

The Lions now host Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 7:30 p.m. ET, before embarking on a four-game road trip to New England, D.C., Atlanta and Portland.

Lineups/Substitutions:

Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Donny Toia (Richie Laryea 83’), Léo Pereira, Tommy Redding, Scott Sutter, M Antonio Nocerino (Dom Dwyer 63’), Yoshimar Yotún, ⓒ Will Johnson (Cristian Higuita 32’), Giles Barnes, F Carlos Rivas, Cyle Larin

Substitutes Not Used: GK Josh Saunders, D José Aja, M Dillon Powers, Servando Carrasco

Columbus Crew SC – GK Zack Steffen, D Jonathan Mensah, Josh Williams, Lalas Abubakar, M Harrison Afful, Will Trapp, Mohammed Abu, Waylon Francis, F Cristian Martínez (Pedro Santos 62’), Justin Meram (Jukka Raitala 89’), Ola Kamara

Substitutes Not Used: GK Brad Stuver, D Nicolai Naess, Alex Crognale, M Hector Jimenez, F Adam Jahn

Attendance: 25,527

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

One Response to Orlando City manages home point in 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew

  1. Well done, Nigel. We listened to Kreis’ remarks on the drive home and I was embarrassed by his attack for the female that commented on our chances of reaching the playoffs dropping dramatically after this loss. His feeble comparison of the percentage drop to the state sales tax was condescending and demeaning.

    Wes Andersen
    August 20, 2017 at 8:53 am

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