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Orlando City SC and Chicago Fire drew 2-2 Sunday afternoon at Toyota Park, Chicago, but the visitors will come away ruing several missed opportunities that should have put the game away before the home side snatched an equalizing goal with twelve minutes left in the game.
John Goossens’ shot from distance opened the scoring for the Fire in the sixth minute but the Lions responded just three minutes later as Kaká flicked on the ball for Cyle Larin, to finish neatly past oncoming Chicago keeper Sean Johnson for the equalizer. It was Larin’s 12th goal of the season and put Kaká in the team lead with eight assists.
The Brazilian international was influential on the left wing throughout the match and put the Lions in the lead in the 32nd minute when he fired a rebound into the roof of the net. Matías Pérez García played the ball to Servando Carrasco, who lofted it in for Larin. The Canadian’s header rang off the post before Kaká finished the loose ball off.
The Lions controlled over 61 percent of possession in the first half against the worst team in Major League Soccer and in the 54th minute they should have extended their lead as Kaká made a dazzling 60-yard run up the left wing before driving into the box from the end line. The Brazilian then launched the ball across the face of goal but Larin couldn’t get on the end of it.
The game was on a knife edge and two minutes later Tommy Redding cleared off the line as Joe Bendik charged out to stop the ball from a Chicago attack. Uruguayan defender José Aja then entered the match in place of Redding moments later for his MLS debut.
Orlando then went close with further efforts from Kaká who curled a shot from 22 yards out to the far post that Johnson parried away and from Pérez García who made a clever move to find space in the middle of the pitch before firing wide a shot from 25 yards out.
Tony Rocha then came on in the 61st minute for his MLS debut in place of Cristian Higuita and seconds later Cyle Larin appeared to be dragged down in the box by Sean Johnson but referee.Mark Geiger waived play on.
Orlando were desperate for a third goal and substitute Kevin Molino, on for Garcia, laid on a nice flick to free Kaká up the left wing. Kaká dribbled through the box before firing a shot that Johnson did well to stop diving to his left in the 72nd minute.
Four minutes later Kaká back heeled a neat pass to José Aja, who found Tony Rocha. Rocha drove forward to the penalty box but his cross was snatched up by Johnson just before Larin was able to get there.
The Fire then made Orlando pay for their lack of clinical finishing when Razvan Cocis neatly headed home Brandon Vincent’s cross after a short corner by David Accam.
The game petered out to a finish and after the game Orlando Head Coach said: “I think we earned a draw. I think we should be happy with the one point. “We’ll continue to work on those [mistakes], we’ll continue to try to improve, and I think as we gain fitness and gain momentum. I think that we’ll improve. I really do.”
Orlando City closes out the road trip on Saturday, Aug. 20, against the Colorado Rapids. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The Lions return to Camping World Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 24, when they host Toronto FC. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Luke Boden, Tommy Redding (José Aja 56’), Seb Hines, Kevin Alston, M Servando Carrasco, Cristian Higuita (Tony Rocha 61’), Brek Shea, Kaká, Matías Pérez Garcia (Kevin Molino 64’), F Cyle Larin
Substitutes Not Used: GK Earl Edwards Jr., D Mikey Ambrose, F Carlos Rivas, Júlio Baptista
Chicago Fire – GK Sean Johnson, D Eric Gehrig, Johan Kappelhof, Jonathan Campbell, M Matt Polster, Khaly Thiam (Luis Solignac 46’), Razvan Cocis, Brandon Vincent, F John Goossens (Arturo Alvarez 71’), Michael de Leeuw, David Accam
Substitutes Not Used: GK Matt Lampson, D Michael Harrington, M Nick LaBrocca, Michael Stephens, Joey Calistri
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com
Special Olympics Unified – Chicago v Orlando
After the MLS game there was an entertaining Special Olympics Unified game played between Chicago and Orlando. During the build up to this match, the Special Olympians received the full Orlando City experience. After being introduced at halftime in last Sunday’s match against the Seattle Sounders in front of a crowd of 28,000 people, the athletes visited Thursday’s training and were given the opportunity to meet players, including Kaká. The athletes then traveled to Chicago with the team for the game.
Special Olympics Unified Sports have more than half a million participants worldwide and combat stereotypes of people with intellectual disabilities by bringing people together through sports. Unified Sports joins athletes both with and without mental disabilities on the same team to promote social inclusion.
More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com/SpecialOlympics