Recap: Orlando City blows another first-half lead, concede two late goals to draw against New England

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Photo by Terrance Coakley / Orlando Soccer Journal

For the second consecutive match, Orlando City took a lead into halftime, only to see it slip away in the late moments of the match as the New England Revolution and Adam Buksa scored two goals in the final 12 minutes of the match to turn a 2-0 deficit into a 2-2 draw on Sunday night at Exploria Stadium.

“Very disappointed obviously with a giving up those two goals at the end and not accomplish the objective, which is no less than those three points that we were pursuing tonight,” said head coach Oscar Pareja. “Difficult as well, just to recognize that we did such good things today that we could put the game away very early again and then at the end, we just finished with a very tight game with them. Sending crosses and that’s the way they score the goals. It is the proximity of the game doesn’t let us go too down. We have to move on and try to get the points in the three games that we have left.”

The majority of New England’s regular starters began the match on the bench, but would come in to make a difference in the second half.

For the early part of the match, Orlando put pressure on the Revolution, threading crosses into the box and trying to take advantage of the height of Daryl Dike in the box. New England would keep the Lions at bay for the majority of the first 45 minutes, but one short corner in the 39th would lead to the breakthrough.

After a botched cross that ended up on the other side of the field, Joao Moutinho would get on the end of the ball and deliver a cross into the box, finding a rising Nani in the box to head it past Matt Turner, giving the Lions the first goal of the match.

Orlando would take the lead into the locker room and would immediately get the chance to double it minutes into the second half. In the 48th minute, Nani was taken down in the box by AJ Delagarza, earning the Lions a penalty. After a discussion of who would take the ensuing penalty, Daryl Dike would grab the ball, step up and bury the spot kick past Turner and giving Orlando a 2-0 advantage.

The lead would last until Revolution Head Coach Bruce Arena unloaded his bench of stars, including Gustavo Bou, Carles Gil, Tajon Buchanan and Adam Buksa, causing havoc in the final 20 minutes of the match.

After some costly turnovers and nervy moments in the back, Buksa would pull one back for the away side in the 81st minute. Bou would put a cross in for the Polish striker to tap in past Pedro Gallese to make things interesting the final few minutes of the match.

New England would almost tie the match in the 85th minute with an open shot by DeJuan Jones, but Pedro Gallese would come up with a big reaction save to deny the Revs the goal.

The Lions had multiple chances to put the game away late on through Benji Michel and Tesho Akindele, but could not convert their chances on breakaways. This would come back to bite Orlando in stoppage time as Buksa would find the equalizer. DeJuan Jones would find the curling ball into the box and Buksa out-jumped Rodrigo Schlegel to win the ball and head it past Gallese to complete the comeback.

Up next … 

Orlando City travels to take on the Columbus Crew on Wednesday at Lower.com Field. The match will kickoff at 7:30 p.m. and will televise locally on FOX 35 Plus and LionNation TV.

Scoring Summary 

39’ – Nani, assisted by João Moutinho (ORL)

50’ – Daryl Dike, penalty (ORL)

81’ – Adam Buksa, assisted by Gustavo Bou (NE)

90+3’ – Adam Buksa, assisted by Carles Gil (NE)

How the Lions lined up 

Orlando City XI: Pedro Gallese; João Moutinho (Emmanuel Más, 46’), Rodrigo Schlegel, Antonio Carlos, Ruan; Sebastian Mendez (Joey DeZart, 89’), Jr. Urso, Nani – c (Tesho Akindele, 79’) , Mauricio Pereyra (Andres Perea, 79’), Chris Mueller (Benji Michel, 66’); Daryl Dike.

Substitutes:  Mason Stajduhar; Alexandre Pato, Silvester van der Water, Kyle Smith.


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