Orlando City pulled out a gutsy performance for a 3-3 draw against the Montreal Impact Saturday night.
This has been one of the toughest weeks in a while for the Orlando City Soccer Club. They suffered an embarrassing 3-1 loss to the NASL’s Miami FC, forcing a quick exit for the club from the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament. The lackadaisical effort of the team left Coach Jason Kreis furious and players almost speechless.
This was followed by the stunning arrest of Orlando star Cyle Larin’s arrest for driving under the influence. Larin received an automatic league mandated suspension as he undergoes assessments by MLS’ Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health (“SABH”) Program doctors pursuant to the SABH Policy.
It’s no surprise that the Lions came out of the gates with fire in their eyes for this match. The Lions took it to the Impact from the start and after several close calls broke through in the ninth minute. Giles Barnes drove in from the left wing and slipped the ball through for Kaká, who raced onto it and centered for MPG, who stretched for the tap-in. They were Kaká and Barnes’ second assists of the season.
Montreal answered quickly with a goal from Blerim Dzemaili in the 16th minute.
Barnes started the Lions’ second goal with another run from the left wing. The Jamaican served it in for MPG to lay off for Will Johnson, whose first-time rip deflected off Bush and Laurent Ciman on the goalline. The ball popped out for Rivas, who sprinted on and blasted it into the back of the net, giving Orlando the 2-1 lead.
The Lions let up in defense in the second half, allowing Montreal build off the counter attack, tie and suddenly take the 3-2 lead with two goals from Piatti in two minutes.
“It happened so fast. I can’t remember everything but one thing goes wrong, then another and another and then there’s a goal.” said Orlando defender Danny Toia, former Montreal player who joined Orlando City. “Just a quick turnoff within five, 10 seconds can do a lot and sometimes that’s what happens. And if you’re not in it 90 minutes they’re going to capitalize and that’s exactly what he did. I was with him for two years and he did that every freaking game. So it’s part of the game unfortunately.”
The Lions created chance after chance, with Kaká and MPG working magic on the ball at times. Three second-half yellow cards and five substitutions garnered six minutes of stoppage time, and City earned corner after corner in the shadow of The Wall and the eighth sell-out crowd of 25,527 at Orlando City Stadium. In the 94th minute, MPG floated a ball onto the six-yard box for Jonathan Spector to head perfectly into the far corner for the equalizer.
“Another night of positives and negatives.” said Coach Kreis “Some really big positives with us, how we played in the first 45 minutes, what we were doing with the ball, the number of chances we created. We looked composed on [the ball] and we managed the game well. The negatives are obviously that I felt we gave them all three goals.
“But then to finish off the game in an extremely positive situation with us reacting well and continuing to work hard and score the equalizer. Another night of positives and negatives and still haven’t put together a complete performance yet this season.”
The Lions embark on a three-game road trip that will see them visit Seattle on Wednesday, June 21, for a 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff. City then visits Chicago on June 24 and Real Salt Lake on June 30 before returning to Orlando City Stadium on July 5 to host Toronto FC.