Rain, Rain Go away! That was the feeling among the fans at last night’s Orlando City match at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. The Lions (7-12-8, 29 points) managed to battle to earn a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire (7-13-6, 27 points) after more than 3 hours of rain delays, including a 2 hour delay to the start of the match.
The Orlando City faithful cheered their team on from the cover of the upper decks as the support groups cheered on faithfully from their seats, even during torrential rain. The OC squad returned to their aggressive style of the past after a disappointing slide for most of the month of August.
Despite having multiple scoring chances, Chicago drew first blood when David Accam found the back of the net after sneaking his effort in at the near post. Seven minutes later, Orlando tied things up with a clipped ball by Lewis Neal that forced an own goal from Chicago center-back Eric Gehrig, who was battling in the air with Orlando striker Cyle Larin.
In the second half, Orlando threatened on multiple occasions, with Kaka and Rivas both coming close to being heroes in the final 45. In the 57th minute, Rivas pulled the ball back to the Brazilian who was left unmarked on the edge of the area, setting up an effort from Kaka that skipped just wide of the far post.
The draw pulled Orlando into sixth place in the playoff standings. Montreal, New York City F.C. and Philadelphia all lost on Saturday, giving Orlando City a big chance to gain ground. It made the draw a less-than-ideal result. “Obviously I am bitterly disappointed that we couldn’t finish on some of the quality chances we created this evening. A lot of the things we asked the players before the game to show commitment to, like a desire to win the game, I thought they showed it well. It was a really good game.” – Coach Adrian Heath
The Lions will return to the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Sunday, September 13, to host Sporting Kansas City. Kick-off is 7:00 p.m. ET.