Orlando City stages dramatic come back to share the points with New England Revolution

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Defensive errors were again the bane of Orlando City Soccer’s performance against table topping New England Revolution this evening as the home side found themselves 2-0 down after 72 minutes in front of 27,243 boisterous fans at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.

Playing their first Major League Soccer game for 12 days, Orlando started extremely slowly and didn’t see much of the ball in the opening 25 minutes of the game. It was no surprise when New England went ahead in the 19th minute as Revolution forward Charlie Davies made the most of a defensive error by Amobi Okugo to score the opening goal low to the bottom corner at the near-post.

Three minutes earlier the Lions had been given a warning as Lee Nguyen skipped past the City back line but powered his final effort disappointingly wide of the target.

In the 25th minute, Orlando finally mustered an effort on goal as midfielder Darwin Cerén fired well wide of the right hand post. Two minutes later, Cerén found Brek Shea on the back post but his half hearted headed effort went out for a goal kick.

The Revolution continued to control the game though and they should have extended their lead in the 40th minute as London Woodberry’s header ricocheted off the post. The ball rebounded to forward Charlie Davies who could only hit the cross bar with his follow up header even though Referee Ted Unkel, who was having a poor game, signaled for a corner.

Orlando emerged the brighter of the two teams in the second half as 2013 MLS Cup MVP Aurelién Collin, Eric Avila and Seb Hines all squandered good opportunities to level the game. It was the Revolution who would extend their lead against the run of play in the 72nd minute as Rafael Ramos failed to spot second-half substitute Kelyn Rowe lurking over his shoulder. The young defender tried to chest a hopeful long field ball back to his goalkeeper but Rowe nimbly stepped in to take the ball past the stranded Donovan Ricketts and slot into the Orlando net.


It was a devastating blow and it seemed that Orlando were destined for a 4th straight home defeat at this level. The Lions, however, are made of strong stuff and having reversed a similar scoreline in Montreal earlier in the season they surged forward in an attempt to get back into the game.  They got their reward quickly and just three minutes later Ramos, somewhat redeeming himself, found Cyle Larin with a teasing cross that the striker powerfully nodded past Bobby Shuttleworth in the New England goal before he had chance to react.

Orlando Head Coach Adrian Heath then decided to make a change in the 80th minute as he substituted Larin with Honduran international Bryan Rochez.  The change almost brought immediate dividends as Rochez acrobatically attempted a bicycle kick from a Ramos cross that sailed just over the top of the crossbar.

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As the game entered it’s final minute, Orlando worked the ball from a right sided free kick to Luke Boden on the left wing. The full back provided a superb chipped cross that Collin launched himself at to nod the ball in off the crossbar.

It was a deserved point for the men in purple as in stark contrast to the first half, they completely controlled the second half.

“Obviously, we started very apprehensively. We allowed a very good, confident team to dictate the pace of the game, and I thought we played off the back foot and gave them too much respect,” said Adrian Heath after the game. “But, after the first 20-25 minutes, we got a little bit of a foothold in the game. We pushed more men forward and gave them something to defend. I didn’t think we did enough in the first half, but I actually thought the response of the players was magnificent. I don’t think they (New England) had another opportunity during the second 45, so obviously we turned the game around in our favor.”


Orlando City SC – GK Donovan Ricketts, D Luke Boden, Seb Hines, Aurelién Collin, Rafael Ramos, M Amobi Okugo (Cristian Higuita 46′), Darwin Cerén, Brek Shea, Eric Avila (Carlos Rivas 72′), Kaká, F Cyle Larin (Bryan Rochez 81′)

New England Revolution – GK Bobby Shuttleworth, D Andrew Farrell, London Woodbery, Chris Tierney, M Andy Dorman, Scott Caldwell, Jermaine Jones, Teal Bunbury, Lee Nguyen (Diego Fagundez 86′), F Charlie Davies (Kelyn Rowe 60′), Juan Agudelo (Kevin Alston 72′)

More photos at www.FloridaLeisurePhotography.com

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