Andres Perea appeared to put Orlando on the brink of securing a second consecutive playoff appearance.
A freekick placed by Alexandre Pato hit off the crossbar, then off goalkeeper Joe Willis’ back before Perea tapped in the ball during a slight scramble in the box.
The goal would’ve put the Lions 2-1 deep into stoppage time but after head referee Allen Chapman consulted with the video assistant referee, it was determined that Daryl Dike fouled defender Alistair Johnston.
And that’s how Sunday’s dramatic match between Orlando City and Nashville SC ended — a 1-1 draw in front of 15,959 in attendance at Exploria Stadium as the Lions now pivot to the final week of the regular season to secure a spot in the postseason.
“It’s a very sad day for the league,” head coach Oscar Pareja said following the final whistle. “A league that has been growing immensely. It’s a very sad day for the league, and there is no explanation of a play that was so evident and destroyed the joy of our people, the people who believe in this project, and what I mean the project means what we’re building in the states around the game, so it’s a very sad day.”
The play that brought the controversy? Below:
Questions from the Referee Pool Reporter were submitted following Sunday’s dramatic ending:
Q: Why was the final stoppage-time goal disallowed?
A: Orlando player Daryl Dike kicked Nashville player Alistair Johnston’s leg as Johnston was attempting to clear the ball. It was determined to be a foul prior to the goal being scored.
Q. If there was a foul, who was it on? How was it determined egregious enough to overturn a goal?
A: The foul was committed by Daryl Dike on Alistair Johnston. In the opinion of the match officials, Daryl Dike prevented Johnston from clearing the ball
Orlando opened the scoring in the 18th minute when a ball from Nani found Chris Mueller, who then centered the ball to Daryl Dike to hit the final ball past Joe Willis to give the Lions the 1-0 lead.
In the 34th minute, Junior Urso almost made it 2-0 when he attempted a scissors kick that hit off the post before it was eventually cleared.
Nashville leveled the match in the 53rd minute when a turnover from Nani saw CJ Sapong play the ball to Randall Leal, who then set up Hany Mukhtar on a run before striking the ball past Pedro Gallese to tie the game 1-1.
The result doesn’t mean Orlando is out of the playoff race, but will now have to travel to Montreal on the final week of the regular season. A win guarantees the Lions a second straight playoff spot; If Orlando loses or ties, results from other teams vying for a playoff spot will determine the Lions’ destiny this season.
The Lions close out the regular season on the road against CF Montreal on Nov. 7 at Stade Saputo at 3:30 p.m. on FOX 35 Plus and LionNation TV.
18’ – Daryl Dike, assisted by Chris Mueller and Nani (ORL)
53’ – Hany Mukhtar, assisted by Randall Leal and CJ Sapong (NSH)
How the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Pedro Gallese; Emmanuel Mas, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan (Kyle Smith, 90’); Sebastian Mendez (Alexandre Pato, 85’), Junior Urso, Nani – c (Silvester van der Water, 90’), Mauricio Pereyra (Andres Perea, 90’), Chris Mueller (Benji Michel, 74’); Daryl Dike.
Substitutes: Mason Stajduhar, Tesho Akindele, Rodrigo Schlegel, Joey DeZart.
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