Orlando City went into Orlando with a mission on their minds: Avenge the loss infant of their home crowd last week. It would not happen, and they left with a 1-1 tie.
As fate would have it, the same villain that ruined the party in Orlando did the same in his home stadium, with almost the same timing. Hector Villalba scored in the final minutes to steal points from the Lions. Orlando City (8-5-6, 30 points) held a lead for 52 minutes but walked away with a 1-1 draw against Atlanta United (10-7-4, 34 points) at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Villalba, who scored last week’s game-winner in the 87th minute, struck in the 92nd minute Saturday in front of a frenzied 45,009 fans.
“It’s a travesty that we have to make a mistake at the end to not walk away from here with all three points. Still a point on the road and in this place, it isn’t a bad result.” Lions head coach Jason Kreis said.
The Lions kicked off the match in full force, as they threatened Brad Guzan’s goal in the second minute of play. After a couple of blocked attempts, Scott Sutter curled a left-footed strike from 20 yards off the crossbar.
Despite Atlanta’s numerous efforts for the remainder of the half, including two shots from Miguel Almirón that bounced off the post in the 15th and 39th minute, City managed to open the score. Cyle Larin controlled a goal kick and laid it off for Kaká, who drilled a superb strike from 30 yards out into the top corner in the 40th minute. It was the captain’s fourth goal and Larin’s second assist of the season.
The match saw Dom Dwyer make his Orlando City Major League Soccer debut. The striker started up top for the Lions after joining the squad on Tuesday from Sporting Kansas City.
It was also the last MLS game at Bobby Dodd Stadium, as Atlanta United FC will move to its new home at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The Lions will be represented by Kaka and Dwyer in the MLS All-Star game on Wednesday in Chicago. The league’s top talents face off against Real Madrid at Soldier Field at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game will broadcast on FS1, UniMás, TSN, and TVA Sports.
City will continue its three-game road trip when it heads to Montreal on Saturday, Aug. 5, for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff. The Lions then head to New York City before returning home to host Columbus on Saturday, Aug. 19.