There is a long established argument in American sports against the unsatisfactory nature of a game ending in a tie. In a society that thinks "It's a dog eat dog world" is a proverb and has retooled Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species" into a social theory to explain winners and losers in society, a tie is an unsatisfactory result.
It is the main plank in the anti-soccer rhetoric platform.
Of course, those of us who understand that game appreciate the nuance of the tie -- a well fought contest in which neither team has excelled enough to take all three points from the game. Not a win, not a loss, but an altogether other option.
Orlando City fans have been treated to a lesson on how valuable this third result can be over the past two weeks.
Flash back to March 21, an Orlando team that dominated possession and most of the game were struck down in the 96th minute by a Vancouver Whitecaps free kick, against the run of play. None of us walked into the stadium wanting a tie. A home match against a decent, but not spectacular, Vancouver team had most Orlando fans anticipating taking all three points with a win.
A game full of bad possessions, errant crosses, and a spectacular lack of finishing tampered down the expectations as the day wore on. With the game entering the latest stages, more of the Lion faithful seemed content with a 0-0 draw. Not the result we wanted, but something positive that the team could continue to build momentum from.
And just like that, one chance for the visitors and we were all walking to the parking lot shell shocked and wishing for that single point from a draw.
Fast forward to yesterday, as the boys in purple went north of the border to take on Montreal. With seven missing players due to injuries and international call-ups, the club could only dress sixteen total players. The Montreal Impact, while still missing a few of their own due to international call-ups, seemed to be holding all the cards.
The big games in the CONCACF Champions League have built some much needed confidence around the club. Having a nice home crowd of over 25,000 on hand didn't hurt either.
When I took my seat at the bar with my friends, I admit I was a bit pessimistic about our chances. Missing a large chunk of our team, which has yet to completely gel this season, with numerous players seeing their first playing time of the year. Orlando supporters had every reason to have some concerns.
Two early goals against did nothing to bolster any confidence in the Sunshine State. And then, as if on cue, Kaká and company found magic in the 29th and 30th minutes to bring the score level again at 2-2. The goals had everything you could want -- Luke Boden, a former USL standout making his MLS debut, pushing the ball into the box; the nimble touch of the legendary Kaká, assisting on the first goal, then pushing through tons of contact to touch the ball off to the hero of the Battle of Houston, Pedro Ribeiro, getting his name on the score sheet in earnest this time.
The second goal was all hard work, as Ribeiro put in the hustle to win the ball near midfield, pushed it forward, and repaid Kaká for the earlier assist, with a pass he could touch into the net. Orlando hearts were buoyed once again.
As the game came to an end, Orlando fans were satisfied, knowing the Lions were bringing a point home from French Canada.
Sure, you always want all three points. Numerous draws guarantee your team nothing but mediocrity.
But in the right situation, a splitting of the points between two teams can feel like the right result. After a well-played match, in which both teams have given their best account of themselves on the day, a tie means something was gained.
On the surface, of course, there is the single point, but for an Orlando team building confidence with every game, coming home having come from behind and not lost, the intangibles of a tie are immeasurable. Go City!