After losing their starting fullback 20 minutes in due to injury and their starting midfielder to a red card in the 69th, Orlando City managed to hold on to their unbeaten streak after a scoreless draw against FC Dallas on Sunday night at Toyota Stadium.
Orlando dominated the match for the majority, but Sebas Mendez’s second yellow card with 20 minutes to go in the match forced the Lions to hold on through stoppage time to secure the point.
“It was a point, and we take it,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “We’re proud of such effort that the players did on the field. But knowing that we had the majority of the options, the personality, and most importantly the consistency during the game was something that we were asking to the players.
Pareja continued, “We feel that it was not enough for us, the point. And it’s not about feeling. When you go away and played against good teams and you will call the tide and it’s not enough. It just give me good sensations about this team. One of our best games. The way that I want them to play and the way we all wanted to do things. Without a doubt one of the best parts. But, not finishing with the last third, not really have any resolutions, but that will come.”
Starting fullback Ruan was forced out of the match early with apparent hamstring tightness, forcing Kamal Miller into action, alongside Kyle Smith.
Orlando (7-2-5, 26 points) held 53% possession, led in shots and total passes, but could not find a reward for their play.
“I thought our press was pretty good tonight, especially in the first half,” Forward Tesho Akindele said. “We turned them over a few times and that led to chances. And then just our movement off the ball was pretty good. The problem was just our final pass or decision. I had one I shot, maybe I should have passed it. Other people, the same thing or we were just a little bit off here and there with a few connections, but we did really well to create chances off of their turnovers and just with good movement from our team.”
The Lions had a few chances in the first half, but none better than the 45th minute, when Mauricio Pereyra found Nani inside the box. The captain chipped a ball far post looking for Chris Mueller, but the winger could not get to the ball in time to get a shot off before it fell out of bounds.
Orlando again had a chance to score in the 80th minute off a counter through Junior Urso, but Dallas keeper Jimmy Mauer came up with the stop to keep things level.
“I saw Nani in front of me, almost in the final third of the field,” Junior Urso said on his chance. “I saw a good space to run, and this is my game. I like to to play box to box. And when I saw Nani, they moved to the left side, and I saw good space behind the midfielders. So, I just run and we train many times this possibility in training, Nani many times gives me this ball. So when I saw this space, I start running and he gave it to me, but I think I took a good shot but I think I can do more power the next time. I tried to put in the ball but I think this moment I had to put more power because the keeper maybe I put more power and maybe they don’t save, but it’s a good chance.”
Up next, Orlando have a week before the final stretch of the regular season as the Lions host the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, October 3rd at 4 p.m. at Exploria Stadium
Here’s how the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Pedro Gallese; Ruan (Kamal Miller, 23′), Rodrigo Schlegel, Robin Jansson, Kyle Smith; Junior Urso, Sebastian Mendez, Mauricio Pereyra (Andres Perea, 73′); Nani, Chris Mueller, (Benji Michel, 63′); Tesho Akindele (Daryl Dike, 63′).
Substitutes: Brian Rowe, Jordan Bender, Alex DeJohn, Joey DeZart, Robinho.
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