ORLANDO, FLA. – May 30, 2015 – Before an announced crowd of 31, 430 raucous purple-clad fans, Orlando City SC (3-5-5, 14 points) drew Columbus Crew SC (4-4-4, 16 points) 2-2, extending the Lions’ unbeaten run to three matches.
Despite going down early 1-0 by a header from Crew SC midfielder Tony Tchani in the 6th minute, the Lions maintained their composure and found the equalizer in the 17th minute. Crew SC Defender Michael Parkhurst was sent off for handling the ball on the goal line, and Kaká converted the resulting penalty kick to even the score 1-1.
With Crew SC down to 10 men, Orlando City turned on the pressure producing 11 shots in the first half. Despite the barrage of attempts, the half ended deadlocked at 1-1. Columbus created some chances in City’s end of the field at the start of the second half, including a crafty chip from Waylon Francis to Kei Kamara who headed the ball past Orlando City goalkeeper Tally Hall to take the lead in the 61st minute.
Crew SC then bunkered down in their defensive end, withstanding continuous offensive pressure from the Lions. Substitute Pedro Ribeiro, who made his first appearance since being injured April 3rd, capitalized on a turnover and delivered a stinging shot to the right of Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark in the 89th minute to draw Orlando even 2-2.
Orlando City pressured Columbus in the closing minutes of the match in search of the go-ahead goal but after four minutes of added time, the final whistle drew the match to a close.
“I’m obviously disappointed we hadn’t won the game - with 25 efforts on goal and all the clear-cut chances we had,” said head coach Adrian Heath. “So, it looks like we left a couple points on the table for me. Obviously when you score later on, you have salvaged something from the game, but there is no way we shouldn’t have taken all three points out of this game tonight. We created six, seven clear cut chances and when you don’t take them, invariably it comes back to bite you and that’s what’s happened to us today. The guys think they tried really hard. Sometimes we gotta try smarter not harder, and we might get a bit more reward from it if we do.”
4’ Columbus had the first chance of the game, as Federico Higuaín’s curling free-kick skipped just above the crossbar.
6’ Shortly afterward, Crew SC would break the deadlock very early in the match when Tony Tchani leaped in the air and nodded home Héctor Jiménez’s cross to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
8’ Orlando City responded with good combination play from Kaká and Eric Avila on the edge of the area, leading to a quality chance for Cyle Larin who had his effort from inside the box saved by goalkeeper Steve Clark.
16’ Orlando City equalized ten minutes after Crew SC’s opening goal when the Lions were awarded a penalty. The referee blew the whistle after defender Michael Parkhurst handled the ball to prevent it from going in the back of the net, setting up Kaká for his sixth finish of the season. Kaká is now tied for 4th in goals scored in MLS this season.
17’ One minute later, Cyle Larin nearly doubled City’s lead, using his chest to re-direct Ramos’ cross within inches of the target in a near recreation of his goal against Portland earlier in the season.
19’ In an attempt to adjust to being a man down, Crew SC head coach Greg Berhalter brought Designated Player Higuaín off for center-back Emanuel Pogatetz.
24’ Larin found himself in behind the defense once again, running at Clark for a one-on-one but the goalkeeper did well to tip it wide for a corner.
37’ With the first half coming to a close, Orlando City continued to put the visitors under pressure as the first half featured a very open game.
41’ With four minutes remaining in the first half, Tally Hall was tested for the first time, deflecting Kei Kamara’s powerful volley away from danger. Kamara, who currently leads MLS in goals (9), was relatively kept at bay by veteran defenders Sean St. Ledger and Seb Hines for much of the first half.
45 (+2) The referee blew the first half whistle as the Lions remained level with Crew SC 1-1. City held nearly 60 percent possession while also having the advantage in shots taken (11-7).
52’ Orlando’s intensity in the final third continued in the second half when Carlos Rivas rattled his strike off the crossbar after Larin’s header was saved by Clark.
60’ After a quiet first half, Kamara scored his 10th goal of the season in the 60th minute - heading Waylon Francis’ cross past Hall to give Crew SC a 2-1 edge.
64’ Avila came close to leveling the scoreline four minutes later, dragging his strike wide of the far post.
73’ To reinvigorate his squad, head coach Adrian Heath on brought on Pedro Ribeiro and Lewis Neal for Cyle Larin and Eric Avila. Both players were making their first appearances after recently recovering from lengthy injuries.
77’ Stemming from Luke Boden’s corner, Darwin Cerén jumped on to a loose ball in the box and hit a high shot that narrowly missed the frame as City’s frustrations continued.
81’ Ramos bursted inside past two defenders with pace, finding Neal on the back post for a free header. The winger’s nodded effort was saved by Clark however.
87’ As the match approached the final whistle, second-half substitute Pedro Ribeiro scored a cracking effort from distance, blasting a curling shot past Clark to equalize.
90’ Ribeiro came close to scoring a second finish, barely missing the far post with a quick effort.
90 (+4) The referee blew the final whistle before City was able to continue pushing for the game-winner, resulting in a 2-2 draw.
CLB: Tony Tchani (Héctor Jiménez) 6’
ORL: Kaká (Penalty) 17’
CLB: Kei Kamara (Waylon Francis) 61’
ORL: Pedro Ribeiro (Unassisted) 89’
CLB: Michael Parkhurst (Red Card) 16’
CLB: Justin Meram (Yellow Card) 32’
CLB: Héctor Jiménez (Yellow Card) 40’
ORL: Carlos Rivas (Yellow Card) 45’ (+2)
CLB: Mohammed Saeid (Yellow Card) 90’
CLB: Chris Klute (Yellow Card) 90’ (+1)
CLB: Waylon Francis (Yellow Card) 90’ (+1)
Orlando City SC – GK Tally Hall, D Luke Boden, Sean St. Ledger, Seb Hines, Rafael Ramos, M Cristian Higuita, Darwin Cerén, Eric Avila (Lewis Neal 71’), Carlos Rivas (Martin Paterson 66’), Kaká, Cyle Larin (Pedro Ribeiro 71’)
Columbus Crew SC – GK Steve Clark, D Héctor Jiménez (Chris Klute 63’), Michael Parkhurst, Tyson Wahl, Waylon Francis, M Ethan Finlay, Mohammed Saeid, Tony Tchani, Justin Meram (Kristin Steindorsson 46’), F Federico Higuaín (Emanuel Pogatetz 18’), Kei Kamara
Substitutes not used:
ORL – Donovan Ricketts, Aurelien Collin, Amoki Okugo, Harison Heath
CLB - Brad Stuver, Aaron Schoenfeld, Kevan George, Ben Speas
Time of Match: 7:30 p.m. ET
May 30, 2015
The Lions next match will take place against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, June 6. Kick-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. ET at Toyota Park.
City will return to the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Sunday, June 14, for a match-up against Eastern Conference side D.C. United. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.