Orlando City pulled off a gutty 0-0 draw last night against the Chicago Fire. Due to not one but two controversial red cards, the team held on with nine men to keep Chicago from scoring. The Lions fought with 10 men for 40 minutes and battles with nine for nearly 30 min.
In the post game press conference, Orlando Head Coach Jason Kreis wanted to focus on his players efforts and not the controversial calls.
“I don’t want to talk about the decisions tonight because for me I don’t think it’s fair to the players to bring up a negative point of view,” Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis said. “For me the point of view should only be positive because the work that those guys put in tonight, the togetherness that those guys showed tonight, the commitment level that those guys showed tonight, what they were willing to do for each other, for themselves and for the fans I think was second to none.”
Both teams started the match aggressively and well matched. It’s a physical game with a lot of pushing down fouls and one on one challenges. Chicago proved itself to be a very dangerous team.
In the 26th min, Rafael Ramos was given a Red Card after a collision with Chicago’s Brandon Vincent on a 50/50 ball that looked to be incidental. The crowd was incensed, but none the less, Orlando had to press on with 10 players. It was Ramos’ season debut
Orlando continued to press on, pressuring Chicago and keeping them honest on the defensive end. Orlando also kept things tight on the offensive end, with the Orlando back line of Spector, Pereira, and PC.
The Lions managed to escape the first half with a 0-0 score and no damage.
Kreis stuck with the lineup the remainder of the half, moving Will Johnson to right back. He brought in Scott Sutter—who had played every minute at right back since debuting on April 1—in place of Giles Barnes. Kaká came on in the 59th minute in place of Carlos Rivas to try and spark the Lions’ attack.
In the 66th minute, Antonio Nocerino was issued a straight red card, taking the Orlando squad down to nine men. At this point, the Lions switched to a defensive battle.
“We wanted to keep as many attacking players out there to see if we could hit them on the break,” Kreis continued. “We weren’t throwing in the towel by any means. Even as the game wore on at halftime I’m talking to the coaching staff about how we’re going to win the game, not about how we’re going to draw the game. All of our decisions were bending that way until we get the second ejection and then it’s just like, ‘How are we going to hold on?’
Orlando held on and fought of Chicago’s pushes towards a goal. Kreis inserted defensive midfielder Servando Carrasco into the match for Cyle Larin. In the first minute of stoppage time, Matt Polster blasted a shot from 15 yards out that rang off the bottom of the bar straight down and straight back up. Replays clearly showed the ball did not cross the line. Then on the Fire’s last push, PC deflected David Arshakyan’s sharp-angle shot off the bar.
Joe Bendik came away with six saves, proving why he and Jonathan Spector were named to the United States’ 40-man national team ahead of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Orlando City will see a two-week break from MLS play for the FIFA international window. The Lions begin their 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run on Wednesday, June 14, against Miami FC.