The Orlando City Lion’s match against the New England Revolution was a tough contest that ended in a 2-2 draw. The Lions were close to securing another miracle last minute victory, however a controversial call resulted in New England having a game tying opportunity in the final seconds, on which they capitalized.
Orlando mixed up the lineup for this match by playing Julio Baptista, Antonio Nocerino, Ricky Rivas, and Kevin Alston as starters. Kevin Molino, was at the ready on the bench, as was Cyle Larin, though he was still recovering from a hamstring injury.
The match opened with a well placed pass from the tip that put Baptista in scoring position. Baptista was tackled near the goal resulting in a penalty kick. Kaka deftly kicked it in for a goal, all in the first minute of play.
From this point on, New England had the pressure on Orlando, holding possession for 58% of the first half. The kicked 11 shots on goal, though only two were on target.
In the 12th minute, the Revolution were the first to go into the books after Gershon Koffie was shown a yellow for a hard challenge on Carlos Rivas in the midfield.
The Revolution leveled the game in the 38th minute, started by quick-combination play between Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney on the left side. With Tierney running an overlap, the midfielder lofted a ball into the middle that found Teal Bunbury alone in the box. The forward did not hesitate, and skied a shot under the top netting and past Joe Bendik to make the game 1-1.
After the half, in the 61st minute, Orlando coach Adrian Heath made the key substitutions, bringing in Cyle Larin (on his 21st birthday) and Kevin Molino (in his 100th appearance) for Carlos Rivas and Adrian Winter. The Lions came alive.
Aided by the strong wind to the south, Orlando City suddenly had relentless pressure by moving Kaka to the left and Larin moving to put pressure in the center. The Orlando pressure on goal was furious and the team finally matched previous home game’s intensity.
In the 92nd minute, on a failed clear attempt by the Revs, Molino won the ball in the box and sent a low, bouncing shot into the left side of the net. The crowd of 36,000-plus went insane.
The match ended on a controversial call. Servant Carrasco was called for hand ball in an area that was close to the penalty area. Officials at first place the ball for a free kick outside the box, but then changed their minds after discussion and awarded New England with a penalty kick. Lee Nguyen converted the ensuing penalty kick to make it a 2-2 final.
The crowd saw upset and Orlando missed out an the 3 points in the standings and had to settle for the 1 point for a tie.
Next, Orlando City heads out for a two-game road swing, first traveling to face the New York Red Bulls on April 24 before facing the Revolution again, this time on April 30 at Gillette Stadium.
The Club returns to the Citrus Bowl on May 6, when it hosts the Red Bulls at 7 p.m. ET.