Orlando City Draws Shorthanded Crew

By on June 1, 2015

 

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

ORLANDO, FLA. – Orlando City’s offense had plenty of chances, but in the end managed a draw against the Columbus Crew at the Citrus Bowl. The Crew played shorthanded for the majority of the match, and Orlando City dominated both possession and field position.

 

In the end a lack of execution inside the box, a failure to convert on any of their 14 corners, and solid play by Columbus’ back line stopped the Lions from taking the victory.

 

The match started with a flurry of action. Just six minutes passed before Columbus’ Tony Tchani was celebrating on the sideline, huddling with his team as the scoreboard read 1-0.

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

Ten minutes later, the Crew’s good fortune seemed to have run out when defender Michael Parkhurst was sent off for handling on the line.

 

Kaka scored easily on the ensuing penalty kick to even the score, the crowd erupted with applause, and it seemed that Orlando City was on a smooth road to victory. In reality, what the club found was a hard-fought match that they would never lead, and would only tie with a minute left in regulation.

Kaka (10) and Eric Avila (photo Will Ogburn)

Kaka (10) and Eric Avila (photo Will Ogburn)

Orlando City took hold of field position after Parkhurst’s red card and maintained it throughout. The ball seemed to live in Columbus’ box, and their back line scrambled without the centerback’s help on defense.

 

The Lions struggled to capitalize on the opportunity, however, scoring only one regulation goal in 23 attempts. The play of young Cyle Larin and Carlos Rivas was particularly off, shooting a combined 0-11. Both players had multiple chances one-on-one in the box, but came away empty handed.

Orlando Cyle Larin (21) battles (photo Will Ogburn)

Orlando’s Cyle Larin (21) battles (photo Will Ogburn)

“They’re not the finished articles, these guys, we know that. But they have a big future.” Said coach Adrian Heath on the two young stars.

 

The second half started with the score still locked at one. Again, Orlando City attacked quickly – pushing the ball into the attacking third and keeping it there.

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

Again and again Columbus keeper Steve Clark swatted away the Lions’ arrant shots, and it wasn’t long before Columbus capitalized on the counterattack. In the 61st minute, Columbus striker Kei Kamara took a Waylon Francis pass, split the defenders, and scored another for the Crew.

 

Those familiar with Orlando City’s late-game heroics knew that the match was far from over.

Rafael Ramos (photo Will Ogburn)

Rafael Ramos (photo Will Ogburn)

The Lions’ charge continued through the waning minutes of the second half ­ – corner after corner, shot after shot. Easy chances were missed – great defensive plays were made. The stadium erupted with boos as a Luke Boden corner seemed to sail into the goal, only to be narrowly saved by Clark’s hands, outstretched from inside the goal.

 

Just as it seemed the Lions would fail, hope emerged. In the 89th minute Pedro Ribeiro got a clean look, pivoted, and sent the equalizer sailing to the back of the net. The downtrodden fans went from booing the referee minutes earlier, to the loudest eruption since a similar equalizer against New England earlier in the month.

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

Saturday’s draw gives the Lions 14 points and the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference standings. They will travel to Chicago on the 6th before returning home against the league leading DC United on June 14th.

MORE WILL OGBURN PHOTOS

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

Seb Hines (photo Will Ogburn)

Seb Hines (photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

Eric Avila (12) beats Crew's Waylon Francis to the ball (photo Will Ogburn)

Eric Avila (12) beats Crew’s Waylon Francis to the ball (photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

The legacy of Randy Savage lives! (photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

Kaka (photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

Justin Meram (photo Will Ogburn)

Justin Meram (photo Will Ogburn)

A crowd of 31, 340 on hand (photo Will Ogburn)

A crowd of 31, 340 on hand (photo Will Ogburn)

Avila stillbe chased by Francis (photo Will Ogburn)

Avila stillbe chased by Francis (photo Will Ogburn)

 

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