Orlando City squanders lead as Red Bulls rally to victory

It was a tale of two halves.

In one part, Orlando City took the early lead with some impressive defending. In the other, a lead was squandered with complete opposite defending.

And that was the case, as the New York Red Bulls rallied to a 3-2 victory over Orlando City on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena.

“It was a strange game because they kept getting chances,” Orlando head coach Adrian Heath said. “I thought we were always going to get another [goal] on the break and it never really materialized. I’ll have to have a look at the film, but I think we gave the ball away in dangerous areas too many times but they did alright tonight.” 

OCSC played an impressive first half, blocking a minimum total of 15 shots. But the Red Bulls rallied to a 3-1 lead within 10 minutes early in the second half.

Cyle Larin scored the opening goal in the first three minutes when Júlio Baptista’s build-up connected with Rafael Ramos, whose cross found Larin to slot the ball straight past Luis Robles. 

But Sacha’s Kljestan’s ball found Mike Grella in the 65th minute to level the score for New York (8-2-6, 6 points). Bradley Wright-Phillips doubled it four minutes later for a 2-1 lead over Orlando.

Wright-Phillips scored his second goal when Klejstan’s pass directed to Lloyd Sam who then whipped a crossing pass into the center of the box that found the Englishman to finish the scoring play for a new 3-1 lead in the 75th minute.

Red Bulls defender Karl Ouimette’s own goal in the 83rd minute cut the lead to 3-2 for the Lions (2-2-3, 9 points).

“It’s disappointing because on the counter attack I thought we were dangerous all evening,” Heath added. “I always felt we were one pass away from getting in on two or three occasions but it wasn’t to be.”

Ricardo Kaká did not suit up after sustaining a groin injury. Antonio Nocerino missed Sunday’s game after receiving a one-game suspension from the New England Revolution game last week.

Jesse March’s men were in need of a victory after only winning one of their last seven games before the game on Sunday.

The Red Bulls outshot the Lions 25-12.

Oviedo native Tommy Redding arguably played his most-impressive first half of the season since winning the starting role at center back. Darwin Cerén wore the captain’s band for Orlando.

Carlos Rivas entered the match for Baptista in the 64th minute, but he wasn’t able to inspire an Orlando City comeback.

For the loss, it was Orlando’s second of the season, and the Lions are currently on a three-game winless streak.

Orlando City and New York meet again on Friday, May 6 at the Citrus Bowl at 7 p.m.

The Lions travel to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Revolution on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Follow Mike Gramajo on Twitter (@byMikeGramajo). For more, also follow the OSJ on Twitter (@OSJSoccer).

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