It has been a rough couple of weeks for Orlando City. Through all the changes and frustrations there have been games that have led to disappointment. The team just has not played with the same spirit and energy.
More than anything, this has drawn fan ire and frustration. The team just does not seem to be as sharp or spirited as it once was. The losses have ben dispirited and embarrassing — a 4-0 defeat at Dallas a lifeless scoreless draw at home to Houston.
Orlando City needed a positive performance.
The team missed an opportunity to get the win on a Julio Baptista penalty kick at the hour mark, but the Lions held their head high and played their best game in some time. There was energy and purpose in the attack.
It paid off though in the form of a 2-2 tie at BC Place against the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Lions have something to build off of as they move forward to the rest of their season.
It started with Julio Baptista firing a rocket from the top of the box that deflected off a defender and through goalkeeper David Ousted’s legs. It ended with Cyle Larin equalizing early in the second half heading in a gorgeous feed from Kevin Molino into the box to the far post.
It was the culmination of a game full of attacks and possession. Orlando City was on the front foot for most of the game.
The team had the opportunity to win when Julio Baptista drew a foul in the box and stepped up to take a penalty kick. He missed it over the bar.
Vancouver came right back on the attack and nearly took a 3-2 lead itself. Joe Bendik stepped up and made the save, one of many he had to make on the game.
This was a game of offensive openness. Both teams had their attack and their sloppy play on the back line. There were bad turnovers that conceded goals and goal opportunities. Both of Vancouver goals were scorchers caused by defensive lapses and then perfect passing. The first goal came after Bendik made the initial save following a turnover, leaving an open net.
Orlando City could have gotten the win, but the result was ultimately fair.
The Lions though with all the things that have gone on during this road trip — including a Brek Shea suspension for yellow card accumulation and Carlos Rivas unable to travel out of the country with a passport issue. Orlando City will have one more road game before returning home.
This though was the first game under Danny Murphy where Orlando City looked like the better team. A team deserving of a result and holding its own. The team seemed to be righting the ship.
And the Lions needed that boost of confidence. From a new lineup. From unexpected places. Just a new energy and feeling. Orlando City picked that up and scored a major victory in the process. Or at least a draw.
Now Orlando City can truly begin moving forward.
Orlando Pride fall to Chicago Red Stars
The Orlando Pride were still very shorthanded with many of their key players preparing for the Olympics. There were no heroics this time in the dying moments in a game between two teams fighting for playoff positioning in the table.
The early goal would stand and the Pride could not find the answer after settling in.
Taylor Comeau recorded a goal on an absolutely perfect header off a free kick in the 23rd minute to deliver Chicago an important 1-0 victory at Camping World Stadium on Saturday.
The Pride did settle in and give themselves a chance to equalize, but nothing ever truly materialized and Chicago stood tall to hold on for the win.
The Pride are back in action next Saturday in Seattle before taking their Olympic break.