Orlando City SC (7-16-3, 24 points) played the Philadelphia Union (12-11-4, 40 points) on Saturday and late-game drama saw the two sides finish 2-2 at Orlando City Stadium. Orlando striker Dom Dwyer scored and Scott Sutter came through in stoppage to end things on a positive note for the Lions in front of 22,912 fans in Orlando City Stadium.
“Pleased we ended up getting a point so late on. I think the one aspect that probably disappointed me was our movement, especially second half when I think our energy [dropped]. I think Chris Mueller and [Stefano] Pinho, the subs, when they came on gave us a little bit of energy, gave us some bursts,” Lions head coach James O’Connor said. “But when you concede a goal in the 87th or 88th minute, to get back in and get a point is fantastic so great credit to the players for fighting back and getting a point at the end.”
Orlando shifted it’s back line yet again, With Sutter, O’Neill, Ascues, and Spector trying to hold things down. Philly was all over the Orlando defense, but the Lions managed to fight away most chances and fill the gaps, making it difficult for Philly to get shots through. The Union took 20 shots in the game, with only 6 on target, and managed to score only two.
Orlando started the scoring in the eighth minute when Sutter and Will Johnson pushed down the right hand wing with each other and won a free kick. Yotún took the kick and a Dwyer header that put the Lions up, 1-0. The assist was Yotún’s 10 of the season, which ties him with Brazilian legend Kaká for most in a single season for Orlando City.
The Lions missed a chance to go up 2-0 in the 23rd minute. Spector played a good long ball that just missed the outstretched leg of Dwyer. The ball went across to Higuita, who had the goal wide open because Andre Blake was on the ground trying to defend Dwyer, but the Colombian hit the post and it somehow fell right into the hands of Blake.
The Union’s Borek Dockal found space and put in a cross to the back post. Cory Burke outmuscled O’Neill and headed the ball into the back of the net, tying the match in the 32ns minute.
The Orlando energy level in the second half was low. O’Connor inserted some youth by substituting in Josué Colmán in the 57th minute for Higuita as well as Chris Mueller and Stéfano Pinho for Kljestan and Johnson in the 76th minute.
“I think the energy levels need to be better, need to be higher,” O’Connor said. “In the second half there needs to be way more movement. Our expectation is for the guy with the ball to come up with something and he should have four, five options and that’s something we need to do a way better job at. I think decision making, and when to keep the ball, at times, particularly in the second half, we give it up way too cheaply.”
Later, it looked like Philadelphia was going to steal all three points from the Lions. In the 88th minute, Philly’s Fafá Picault’s shot from distance bounced off centerback Shane O’Neill and into the back of the net to give Philadelphia a 2-1 advantage.
Three minutes after the goal, Colmán played the ball off to an overlapping Sutter. The right back hit it the ball and beat Andre Blake and ended up in the back of the net to tie the game at 2-2.
“At the end of it, we’re happy that we got a draw. It’s definitely not the result we wanted, not the result we expected. said Sutter “It’s not enough, no. I think I said it last week, football is only fun if you win. If you play and if you win. If you don’t play, you’re not happy, and if you don’t win, you’re not happy. We’re not winning. I haven’t gone to The Wall after the game and raised my hands like we won like we did in the beginning of the season, and that hurts.”
Orlando City visits Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Lions then visit the Chicago Fire on Sept. 16 before returning to Orlando City Stadium to host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m. ET.