NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 18, 2021) - Orlando City SC (8-4-7, 31 points) battled back from a one-goal first half deficit to draw host Nashville SC (7-2-11, 32 points) 1-1 on Wednesday night, as the two sides each walk away from the match with a point and now sit just one point apart in the Eastern Conference standings.
After a 23rd-minute goal from C.J. Sapong, the Lions answered in the 58th minute off the head of center back Antonio Carlos, the Brazilian’s second goal of the season. Mauricio Pereyra earned the assist on the goal, which added to his team lead in the category, now sitting at eight on the year.
Mason Stajduhar made his fourth-straight regular season start between the pipes for City, recording three saves to remain unbeaten to start his MLS career. Tesho Akindele and Benji Michel led the Lions with three shots apiece, with the former coming inches from scoring on a 75th-minute header off the crossbar as the visitors pushed for the go-ahead goal.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja:*
“Good match, well played by us. We recognized in the second half what we were missing in the first...So that’s the identity and personality. But [Nashville] were playing defensively and got some counters, which is very dangerous for us. Second half we were much better, we were smarter on containing those counters but most important is that we had that initiative to go out front for the equalizer and, even, we wanted more. The last five, six minutes [Nashville] threw a lot of bodies to us and we needed to reinforce our defense. It gives you a sensation they were on top of us but I think it was just that piece of the game. It’s a good point for the boys, a good game, I'm content with the effort. So, good for the boys today.”
23’ C.J. Sapong (Hany Mukhtar) - NSH 1, ORL 0
The home side was able to jump on a misplayed pass by the City defense, with C.J. Sapong driving up the pitch on the break before finding Hany Mukhtar. Nashville’s No. 10 then returned it to Sapong, who slid his shot into the bottom right corner of the net.
58’ Antonio Carlos (Mauricio Pereyra) - ORL 1, NSH 1
The Lions leveled off a set piece, with Mauricio Pereyra lofting up a free kick from the right edge of the area, finding the head of Antonio Carlos for the equalizer, good for the Brazilian defender’s third goal in his MLS career.
- Antonio Carlos found the back of the net for the second time this year, both of which have come off a set piece with his head.
- Mauricio Pereyra extended his team lead with his eighth assist of the season, serving up the ball for Antonio Carlos’ finish.
- Júnior Urso and Mauricio Pereyra each tallied their 45th appearances for the Club in the match.
- Mason Stajduhar made his fourth-straight regular season start in goal, earning a draw to remain unbeaten to start his MLS career. The Homegrown holds a 1-0-3 record over the last four games.
- Head Coach Oscar Pareja made four changes to his starting lineup entering the match, with Kyle Smith, Silvester van der Water, Joey DeZart and Benji Michel all reentering the fold for the Lions.
- The Lions earned their third-straight draw, another by a 1-1 scoreline, after previously splitting points with FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami on the same result.
Next Match: City faces a quick turnaround, heading home to face Chicago Fire FC on Saturday, Aug. 21 at Exploria Stadium in an 8 p.m. ET kickoff.