The struggles for Orlando City (6-5-1, 19 points) continued Saturday night as the Lions let up a late Alan Gordon goal to fall 2-1 to the Chicago Fire (4-6-2, 14 points) at Orlando City Stadium.
Orlando once again conceded early, after Mohamed El-Munir fouled Fire attacker Diego Campos just outside the box. Aleksandar Katai then stepped up and buried a free kick past Joe Bendik to give Chicago the lead in the 13th minute
“I certainly can’t remember a night where I felt like we were more dominant, with this Club or maybe with any club, to be honest,” Lions head coach Jason Kreis said after the game. “I think we can look at the statistics and the players know in their hearts that we were the by far the better team. You won’t hear me say that very often, but I will tell you there was only one team that was pushing things tonight. The other one was there to try to pick up a draw or catch something on the break.”
Just 15 minutes after conceding, Orlando pulled it level, thanks to Cristian Higuita. For the second time in two games, the Colombian midfielder found a pocket of space and Chris Mueller was able to find him as he drifted into the box. Higuita then struck the ball far post, finishing past goalkeeper Patrick McLain to tie the game at one.
“He’s getting himself into some really good spots, really good spots,” Kreis said of his midfielder. “Another really positive performance from an individual player. Unfortunately hard to count it as too positive because we lost the game. But he’s getting himself in some great spots attacking wise. He was in and around things even more so than his goal. He nearly created another one or two. He’s doing well. But the flip side is we need other players to step up and make special plays in the attacking third.”
Throughout much of the first and most of the second half, Orlando dominated in possession and chances created, but could not finish.
“I think we dominated the second half,” defender R.J. Allen said after the match. “Most of the second half we played in their end. [We] had a few opportunities in the first half, but outside of the free kick I’m not sure what else they created.”
Despite having 21 shots when it was all said and done, only six were on target for the Lions, with only one finding the back of the net, a stat that would haunt them after the final whistle blew.
With Orlando unable to finish, Chicago took advantage. Alan Gordon, who was a halftime substitute for the Fire, took his chance in the 82nd minute, blasting a shot from 30 yards out into the top corner of the net, leaving Bendik no chance.
“Again for me, we created so many chances, you leave a team like that hanging around with a player like Alan Gordon up front, he comes on and a few dangerous attackers in the league and eventually you’ll get punished for it,” Allen said
The Lions are on the road for the next four matches, including a U.S. Open Cup trip to Miami. Their road trip starts up at Yankee Stadium to take on New York City FC on, June 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s how the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Bendik; El-Munir, Rocha, Schuler, Allen; Rosell, Higuita; Kljestan (c) Meram, Mueller; Colman.
Orlando City bench: Edwards Jr., Grinwis; Toia, PC, Powers, Laryea, Pinho.
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