ORLANDO, Fla. (May 13, 2017) – In its first match back from a two-game road trip, Orlando City SC (6-3-1, 19 points) erased an early deficit to pick up a point against Sporting Kansas City (5-2-4, 19 points) Saturday at Orlando City Stadium. It is Orlando City’s first draw of 2017.
“Difficult game. Really difficult game against a really quality opponent in my opinion,” Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “Really pleased with the guys’ effort, work rate, commitment, togetherness. I have to say at the end of the day a draw was a fair result and pleased to take the point. Our objective is always going to be to have three points, to go after three points at home, but sometimes we’ll have to settle for one.”
Center back José Aja started the match alongside Jonathan Spector, Donny Toia and Scott Sutter. Kaká, Cristian Higuita, Will Johnson and Antonio Nocerino lined up at midfield and Cyle Larin and Carlos Rivas were at forward. Joe Bendik started his 44th match as a Lion.
Sporting KC became the first opponent to take a lead against the Lions at Orlando City Stadium in the ninth minute when Latif Blessing tapped in a loose ball.
The deficit didn’t last long, though. After a nice spell of possession orchestrated by Kaká, Toia found Rivas on the left wing and the Colombian lofted a cross to Larin in the box. Larin picked up his seventh goal of the season when he leaped in the air and touched it home, while Rivas recorded his fifth assist, a team-high.
City continued the pressure from there and found the go-ahead goal in the 26th minute when Sutter, who celebrated his 31st birthday today, lofted the ball into the box for Kaká. The captain chested it down, took a touch and curled a smooth shot into the bottom corner. It was Kaká’s third goal in five games this season.
“He’s been showing up in the right spots at the right time,” Kreis said. “Obviously tonight’s goal was a special one. In that much traffic to take it down the way he did and the way he calmly placed it around the defender in the far post, there’s not too many players that are capable of those types of goals.”
The Lions held on to the lead for nearly 50 minutes but Sporting KC equalized in the 74th minute when Blessing found another tap-in. Bendik, who finished with six saves, stopped Benny Feilhaber’s initial shot from close range but the rebound bounced straight to Blessing.
It appeared as though City regained the lead just seconds later when Aja headed in Johnson’s cross but it was ruled that the ball crossed the end line.
The draw levels the all-time series between City and Sporting to 1-1-1 after the Lion’s win in 2015 and KC’s win nearly a year ago today.
Orlando City faces a quick turnaround when it heads to San Jose to take on the Earthquakes at 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff on Wednesday, May 17. The Lions return to Orlando City Stadium on Sunday, May 21, when they face New York City FC for the third and final time this season. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Tickets to all City home matches are available at OrlandoCitySC.com or by calling 855-ORL-CITY. Follow the latest Orlando City news and updates via Facebook, Twitter,Instagram and YouTube.
5’ Jonathan Spector floats a long ball over the top to Carlos Rivas, who nearly chases it down before Tim Melia gets to it.
9’ Donny Toia clears the danger after a Benny Feilhaber free kick. Latif Blessing taps in a loose ball in the box for a goal.
16’ Kaká dribbles the ball from the right wing to Donny Toia, who works it out to Carlos Rivas. The Colombian serves the ball up for Cyle Larin, who just taps it home.
21’ Larin dribbles the ball into the box and is taken down but the referee rules play-on. Carlos Rivas takes a crack at the loose ball but it is blocked.
26’ Sutter lofts the ball in for Kaká, who chests it down, takes a touch and curls a shot inside the far post.
28’ Rivas intercepts the pass and races up the pitch before crossing for Larin. The Lions earn a corner on the ensuing throw-in.
29’ Will Johnson curls the corner to the far post for Spector, whose leaping header had to be cleared off the line.
32’ Joe Bendik makes a diving save on a hard, curling shot from Gerso Fernandes.
39’ Spector is well positioned at the near post to clear a dangerous cross.
45 (+1)’ After one minute of added time, the referee ends the first half. Orlando City 2, Sporting KC 1.
48’ Johnson launches a ball into space for Cristian Higuita, who is dragged down on the edge of the box by Graham Zusi. Zusi is issued a yellow card for the offense.
50’ Kaká curls a floating free kick just over the bar.
51’ Bendik comes up with two spectacular saves, first on a shot from outside the box and then on a cross seconds later.
52’ Donny Toia does excellent work to thwart a threatening counter and win the ball back. Rivas also hustled back.
53’ Bendik makes another great save, this time on a sharp angle shot from Benny Feilhaber.
60’ Rivas does good work to win the ball at midfield and spring the attack. Johnson blasts a shot from 30 yards out that scares Melia. José Aja intercepts a pass in the box and clears.
64’ Giles Barnes enters the match in place of Carlos Rivas. Luis Gil enters the match in place of Cristian Higuita.
70’ Gil slips a sweet through ball for Larin, who catches up to it but his shot is blocked.
74’ Bendik makes a good save on a Feilhaber shot inside the six-yard box but Blessing taps it home.
75’ Aja heads in Johnson’s corner but the goal is ruled off.
79’ Kaká does a dance around Ilie Sanchez, who fouls and earns a yellow card. Blessing is shown a yellow card for an obvious dive in the box.
85’ Barnes races in from the wing and nearly penetrates the box. The Lions regain possession and continue the attack. Gil earns a corner.
89’ Kaká lines up for a free kick 30 yards out in the middle of the pitch. Kaká floats the ball to Larin but he is covered.
90 (+4)’ Barnes sprints up the pitch and slips the ball for kaka, who turns the corner and passes to Larin for a corner. Gil drives a low shot from 25 yards out that Melia saves.
90 (+5)’ After five minutes of added time, the referee ends the match. Orlando City 2, Sporting KC 2.
SKC - Latif Blessing (Matt Besler) 9’
ORL - Cyle Larin (Carlos Rivas, Donny Toia) 16’
ORL - Kaká (Scott Sutter) 26’
SKC - Latif Blessing 74’
ORL - José Aja (Yellow Card) 11’
ORL - Cristian Higuita (Yellow Card) 40’
SKC - Graham Zusi (Yellow Card) 48’
SKC - Ilie Sanchez (Yellow Card) 79’
SKC - Latif Blessing (Yellow Card) 79’
Orlando City SC - GK Joe Bendik, D Donny Toia, Jonathan Spector, José Aja, Scott Sutter, M Antonio Nocerino, Cristian Higuita (Luis Gil 65’), Will Johnson, Ⓒ Kaká, F Cyle Larin, Carlos Rivas (Giles Barnes 64’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Josh Saunders, D PC, Léo Pereira, M Servando Carrasco, Matías Pérez García
Sporting Kansas City - GK Tim Melia, D Graham Zusi, Ike Opara, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic (Saad Abdul-Salaam 90+3’), M Ilie Sanchez, Roger Espinoza, Latif Blessing (Soony Saad 82’), Jimmy Medranda (Soni Mustivar 86’), Gerso Fernandes, F Benny Feilhaber
Substitutes Not Used: GK Adrian Zendejas, D Kevin Ellis, M, F Cameron Porter, Daniel Salloi
Details of the Game:
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Date: May 13, 2017
ORL - 61.7 %
SKC - 38.3 %
ORL - 7
SKC - 14
ORL - 6
SKC - 2
ORL - 9
SKC - 7
ORL - 4
SKC - 3