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An exciting second half finish glossed over a poor performance by Orlando City against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium tonight as they salvaged a point through a 90th minute Carlos Rivas equalizer.
A crowd of 25,203 turned out on a cool New England evening to see the home side grab an 8th minute lead as Uruguayan Diego Fagundez dribbled into the box from the right wing, worked a one-two with Lee Nguyen 10 yards from goal and fired home a high shot over Orlando keeper Joe Bendik.
New England continued to dominate the play as Orlando sat deep hoping to catch the home side on the break. Orlando looked most dangerous down the right hand side as Rafael Ramos and Adrian Winter combined well and it was Winter who played a critical role in the Lions getting back into the match. The Swiss midfielder was pressed against the sideline when he flicked the ball around Donald Smith and chased it down before crossing to Cyle Larin in the box. The ball floated over Larin but found an unmarked Kevin Molino, whose left-footed shot beat New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth in the 30th minute.
Half Time: 1-1
New England started the second half well and it was no surprise when they regained the lead in the 71st minute from Juan Agudelo’s neat finish. Orlando Head Coach Adrian Heath then made some attacking changes as he inserted forwards Rivas and Júlio Baptista and immediately the men in purple looked a better side.
The Lions found the equalizer when Baptista lobbed a ball ahead to Larin, who dribbled into the box and held off his defender before firing a low cross into the path of Colombian Designated Player Rivas for the game tying goal.
The goal triggered a frantic finish to the game as both teams threatened to steal the three points in the five minutes of stoppage time. Bendik pulled off a fine save from a Kelyn Rowe shot just yards from goal, and Agudelo then saw his header come back off the crossbar.
“I always thought we looked dangerous during the night, certainly on the counterattack. I thought there was some really good control of possession in the first half and obviously we made the changes later on and have a go at it,” Lions head coach Adrian Heath said. “Fortunately Carlos gets the goal but I thought Júlio Baptista gave us a lift as well when he came on. Overall, would I have accepted a point before the game? You bet I would. I think this is one of the most difficult places in MLS to come and play so for us to go away with a point after the last two or three weeks, I’m delighted.”
Orlando City returns to action against the New York Red Bulls at Camping World Stadium, previously known as the Orlando Citrus Bowl, on Friday, May 6. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. E.T.
Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Rafael Ramos, David Mateos, Seb Hines, Brek Shea, M Darwin Cerén (Carlos Rivas 81’), Cristian Higuita, Adrian Winter, Antonio Nocerino (Júlio Baptista 81’), Kevin Molino (Servando Carrasco 63’), F Cyle Larin
Substitutes: GK Earl Edwards Jr., D Tommy Redding, Kevin Alston, F Hadji Barry
New England Revolution – GK Bobby Shuttleworth, D Jose Goncalves, Andrew Farrell, Je-Vaughn Watson (London Woodberry 75’), Donald Smith, M Scott Caldwell, Gershon Koffie, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen (Diago Kobayashi 80’), Kelyn Rowe, F Femi Hollinger-Janzen (Juan Agudelo 70’)
Substitutes: GK Brad Knighton, D Sambinha, M Zachary Herivaux, F Michael Gamble