City Opener Draw

By on March 6, 2016

 

Adrian Winter (photo Will Ogburn)

Adrian Winter (photo Will Ogburn)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City kicked off their season with an amazing finish on Sunday, scoring two goals in the final two minutes to tie Real Salt Lake 2-2.

The final five minutes of play was as electrifying as you’ll see, with two goals scored in what felt like less than a minute. After failing to convert their first 12 shot attempts, Orlando City poured it on in the 94th minute.

 (photo Will Ogburn)

City’s Pedro Ribeiro (photo Will Ogburn)

First, it was forward Cyle Larin who beat veteran keeper Nick Rimando, sailing a shot just past his glove. As fans celebrated the hollow goal, there was something larger on his mind; instead of celebrating, he and teammate Adrian Winter quickly retrieved the ball so that the ref could reset it.

Nick Rimando (photo Will Ogburn)

Nick Rimando (photo Will Ogburn)

City quickly regained possession, and sailed the ball down the pitch where the duo of Larin and Winter were sprinting to meet it. The ball ricocheted around the box, but found the foot of Winter, who capped off the impressive comeback with another goal.

 (photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

For the first 90 minutes of Orlando City’s season, the product on the field was the farthest thing from “the beautiful game”. It was a chippy, sloppy affair that saw City concede it’s first goal on a penalty kick. The game featured two ejections, as well as six total bookings and countless other fouls.

When Salt Lake back Demar Philips was sent off with his second yellow card in only the 20th minute, it seemed that the tide was turning in favor of the home team.

 (photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

This advantage would be diminished, however, when Real’s Joao Plata was awarded a penalty six minutes later. In his first start for City, new keeper Joe Bendik would be expected to ward off the formidable scorer. Plata caused Bendik to flinch at the last moment, allowing an easy goal and a 1-0 advantage for Salt Lake.

The remainder of the game was spent pressing – searching, but not finding offense. City would see shot after shot result in nothing as the minutes and seconds ticked away. The stoppage-filled game made this pace even more excruciating, as players seemed to hit the turf on every other possession.

 (photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

Before the half ended, Orlando City was dealt another blow. After playing with a numbers advantage for most of the game, a late booking would even up the teams at 10 each. Darwin Ceren was given a red card in the first minute of stoppage time for a serious foul.

 (photo Will Ogburn)

(photo Will Ogburn)

The crowd grew more worried and annoyed with each passing minute, as the second half ticked away. This was replaced with anger, as Plata found the net again in the 67th minute. Now down 2-0, the sold-out Citrus Bowl was silent. It appeared that the fairytale had come to a close, with the home team facing an insurmountable lead.

Luckily, Winter and Larin had a gift for those that stayed for the full time.

Orlando City (0-0-1, 1 pt) will stay home to take on the Chicago Fire (0-1-0, 0 pts) this Friday at the Citrus Bowl.

MORE WILL OGBURN PHOTOS

Orlando City 3-6-16 _M2A0859

Orlando City 3-6-16 _M2A0807_M2A3640_M2A3511_M2A3486_M2A3479_M2A3454_M2A3393_M2A3393_M2A3279_M2A3193_M2A2589_M2A2367_M2A1877_M2A2205_M2A1688_M2A1685_M2A1629_M2A1506_M2A1478_M2A1304_M2A1241_M2A0915_M2A0888

 

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