Orlando City SC and New York City FC battled it out on Wednesday night in central Florida. The game ended with a disappointing 1-1 draw for Orlando with some rather controversial calls. Orlando City dropped 2 valuable points last night, resulting in the 7th draw of the season. Let's break down this match-up.
The Lions came into this match hoping for 3 points against the Pigeons as it would have benefited the following scenario:
-A win vs NYCFC and a win for our next match on Sunday vs NYRB would have secured a playoff spot for Orlando.
Unfortunately, Orlando had many key players out due to injury (as usual). Mauricio Pererya and Joao Moutinho, both injured, are a couple of the names that have greatly helped Orlando City this year. Though, many important players were not in the 18 man squad, this game very easily could have been tallied as a win for Orlando.
New York arguably fields a much weaker side than Orlando yet managed to force a tie.
The game started started off with Orlando's foot on the pedal. 19 Year old midfielder Andres Perea almost bagged his first MLS/Orlando City goal in the 1st minute of the game after Luis Nani passed the ball to him in the 18 yard box. Chris Mueller also had the golden opportunity to bag a goal early into the game, but unfortunately missed the goal after a wonderful cross was whipped in to the box. Mueller then later redeemed himself after star RB, Ruan, crossed the ball and and without hesitation managed to head the ball into the far post in the 18th minute. Midfielder Junior Urso managed to get a goal in as well, but the goal was unfortunately ruled OFFSIDE due to VAR. A sloppy mistake from Orlando's defense while trying to play the ball up field resulted in Keaton Parks barely managing to stay onside and equalizing for NYCFC just before halftime.
The second half was just sloppy from Orlando. All momentum was lost and you could see the Lions struggling somewhat to get into the box. New York had their chances to tuck away a few more goals, but backup GK Brian Rowe came in clutch for Orlando with amazing saves. Both sides battled it out until the ref blew the whistle after nearly 100 minutes were played. NYC dropped down from 5th to 6th and New England jumped to the 5th seed after beating Montreal 3-2. Orlando (4th) and New England (5th) are separated by 3 points.
The chances came but Orlando just couldn't capitalize. Orlando will travel north to play against New York Red Bulls, who currently sit in 7th place and 7 points behind Orlando, on Sunday. Orlando City has a record of 8W-7D-2L with 31 points this season.