A second-half rally sparked a hopeful run for the victory, but a pair of defensive mistakes resulted into Orlando City battling the Philadelphia Union to a 2-2 draw Wednesday night in front of 24,109 spectators at Camping World Stadium.
“When we got in the lead, I thought we’d see it through,” Orlando head coach Adrian Heath said. “We conceded two really poor goals. Defensively, for both goals, we looked awful. If you give players time and room, especially quality players, it invariably ends up in the back of the net, and that’s what we did.”
Tranquillo Barnetta put the Union (5-3-4, 19 points) on the scoreboard first after volleying a headed ball from Chris Pontius off a Philadelphia set piece in the 52nd minute.
But 30 seconds into his substitution into the game in the 67th minute, Kevin Molino leveled the scoring for the Lions after striking a rebound off Philadelphia goalkeeper Andre Blake.
Cyle Larin scored the go-ahead goal in the 71st minute after finishing off a Ricardo Kaká cross with a header.
“I think our confidence is still up. We’re scoring goals, and I think we just have to keep the ball in the back of the net,” Larin said. “We defend and attack as a team, and I think we did well tonight. There were just those little moments where we should’ve been together on it and it comes down to that in these games, especially when [Philadelphia] is in really good form.”
But Orlando’s hopeful run for the three points was slayed when Union substitute Ken Tribett slotted home a fumbled save by Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik in the 75th minute.
Orlando City dominated a fairly contested first half in terms of possession. Heath’s men could of taken an early 1-0 lead when Kaka drew a penalty after getting fouled by Blake in the box. The Brazilian stepped up to take the penalty kick, but had his shot saved by the Philadelphia keeper.
Carlos Rivas was able to orchestrate the play that earned Orlando City (3-3-6, 15 points) the penalty call by Sorin Soica. The Colombian winger was able to round and speed past Fabinho to send a long ball at Kaka’s direction, which evidently led to the foul.
Tommy Redding, who drew praise from Heath after last Saturday’s win over Montreal, was able to shut down Union forward CJ Sapong on the shots category.
“It took us a while to get going,” added Heath. “I was worried, before the game, about our energy levels after putting so much into the game on Saturday.
“It’s strange because as the game wore on, one or two more people got involved. And certainly the introduction of a couple of the substitutes helped in that manner. It is what is, we move on. We’ve got a big game now on Sunday.”
Heath employed same lineup that played the second half of last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Montreal Impact. Hadji Barry, who scored two goals for Orlando City B last weekend, returned to the bench and soon replaced Larin in the 83rd minute.
Orlando City remain in sixth place in the Eastern conference while the Union also remain at No. 1 in the East with 19 points.
Orlando City is now 10 games unbeaten at home, its last regular season defeat occurred on July 19, 2015 in a 2-0 defeat to the New York Red Bulls.
The Lions are scheduled to visit Yankee Stadium for the second time this season for an encounter against New York City FC on Sunday at 4 p.m.
Post 90 report
Cristian Higuita picked up a yellow card in the 88th minute, which also resulted into a fifth yellow for the season to warrant a one-game suspension. Higuita will miss Sunday’s road game against New York City.
David Mateos was issued a straight red card in stoppage time, meaning he will also miss Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium.
Here are the list of played expected to miss the game against NYCFC (6): Pedro Ribeiro (back), Seb Hines (knee), Rafael Ramos (hamstring), Darwin Ceren (ankle), Mateos (suspension) and Higuita (suspension).
(Photos by Victor Tan / Orlando Soccer Journal)
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