Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday Night MLS: Orlando squanders man advantage, settles for draw with Fire

Orlando City 1-1 Chicago Fire
Orlando City had the momentum from Sunday's storm back to score a dramatic stoppage time draw against Real Salt Lake. Add to that the debut of Antonio Nocerino, and they had a recipe for success. Chicago, on the other hand, got wrecked at home by New York City, meaning they wanted to try and turn around their opening. Orlando's momentum was what won early on. Cyle Larin had the Lions in front less than four minutes in.

The Fire would not be disheartened by the early deficit. Some consistent possession and a perfectly placed long pass led to David Accam's 14th minute equalizer. That goal would just about sum up Chicago's fun for the evening. At the half hour mark, Michael Harrington's was sent off for a well executed flying karate kick straight in Brek Shea's crotch.  Needless to say, Orlando was in control from that point until the end of the first half. Hats off to the Chicago defending, though. The Lions threats at goal were virtually non-existent.

Even in the second half Orlando's attack was pretty inept considering their undermanned opponents. Their best shots were from distance and were all long odds to go in. To be fair, Pedro Ribeiro should have scored just before the 80 minute mark, but his low shot bounced right into the near post. Larin probably sould have earned a penalty in stoppage time when he may have been dragged down from behind, too.

The return of Kaka will certainly be celebrated by the Orlando City squad. He is the missing link between the midfield and Cyle Larin's uncanny ability to score goals. Antonio Nocerino will help, but his debut tonight was short lived and rather average. Kaka is the real muscle of this team, and the sooner he comes back the better off Orlando City will be.

Just tonight, it's not like Chicago was doing anything complicated defensively. They weren't even loading up the penalty area with bodies just to keep Orlando out. The Lions were doing that all by themselves by giving Larin very little support through the middle. Their crossing from the outside was rather weak. Their only target was Larin, none of the other midfielders were getting forward. Overall, they looked complacent to walk way with a 1-1 draw at home against ten man Chicago Fire.

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