Some things change, others stay the same and some things become brand new.
That was Orlando City‘s Sunday night in a nutshell as they took on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Nani’s 56th-minute penalty was negated by a stoppage time stunner by Brian White to hand Orlando their third straight draw.
Despite the heartbreak of dropping two points, Orlando’s result mixed with the 89th-minute winner for Toronto FC over Atlanta United as it secured the Lions their first-ever MLS Cup playoff berth.
After a mixed emotional night, Head Coach Oscar Pareja and his players had the same sentiment to share: Happy to make the playoffs, but the job isn’t done yet.
“I know I have to come down and see all the positive things that the boys did today, in a game that they dominated, especially in the first half,” Pareja said after the match. “Second half, it was not, especially at the end when New York was throwing all the bodies up front and trying to cross balls and other things. We were trying to settle the game and we couldn’t. But we keep going. The boys are working hard and the best I can say is that their frustration that they have today again. Despite the difficulties that we have with some players out of the competition, this is fantastic from our players.”
The first 45 minutes was back and forth, with few chances mixed in between. Just before the half hour mark, Nani threaded a free kick into the box where Chris Mueller and Daryl Dike got contact on it, but the ball went wide of the net.
Five minutes later, Orlando had another chance through Junior Urso after Mueller played a ball to him at the top of the box. The ensuing shot unfortunately went wide of the mark.
The best chance of the first half came in the 41st minute when Robin Jansson played a long ball for Nani, who went in 1v1 with Ryan Meara, but the Red Bulls keeper came up with the stop.
As the second half began, it didn’t take long for Orlando to jump on the scoreboard. Just 11 minutes after the half began, Daryl Dike managed to get into the penalty box and was taken down by former Lion Amro Tarek, conceding a penalty for Orlando. Nani stepped up and sent Meara the wrong way, giving Orlando the 1-0 lead.
From then on Orlando did their best to absorb pressure from the Red Bulls as they tried to work their way back into the match, and for 40 minutes, they were able to do just that.
With just 90 seconds left in the match, a Red Bulls corner fell down to Brian White, who took a touch and volleyed it past Brian Rowe to pull a point away from the contest and stealing two from Orlando.
Orlando now have a week off before they travel down to Ft. Lauderdale to take on Inter Miami on Saturday, October 24 at 3:30 p.m.
56′ – Nani [PK] (ORL)
90’+6 – Brian White (RBNY)
Here’s how the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI (4-2-3-1): Brian Rowe; Kamal Miller, Antonio Carlos, Robin Jansson, Ruan (Kyle Smith, 78′); Joey DeZart (Alex DeJohn, 90′), Junior Urso; Nani, Andres Perea, Chris Mueller (Rodrigo Schlegel, 78′); Daryl Dike
Bench: Mason Stajduhar, Michael Halliday, David Loera, Robinho, Jordan Bender
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