It wasn't quite how Orlando City SC coach Adrian Heath drew it up, but the Lions managed to come away with a point against a game NYCFC side in front of 62,510 at the Citrus Bowl -- the most fans for a soccer game in the city's history.
Orlando certainly deserved the draw, though in the end they were very lucky to get it. Kaká's 91st minute free kick deflected off the NYCFC wall and trickled in past a wrong-footed Josh Saunders.
There were certainly some bright spot for the Lions, but some major questions were raised as well. Aurelien Collin's reckless challenge on David Villa earned him a red card, and it didn't do anything to alleviate fears about his consistency. Lewis Neal failed to impact the game from the left wing, and Carlos Rivas looked out of sync with his teammates at times.
On the positive side, Brek Shea played a solid 90 minutes at left back, and Kaká and Kevin Molino had some beautiful combinations. Amobi Okugo looked comfortable commanding the midfield, and loanee Seb Hines held his own at center back.
It wasn't the dominant victory Orlando City fans were hoping for, but in the end, a point is a point.
G, Donovan Ricketts, 6.5 -- The Jamaican was hardly tested at all, as New York's goal was their only shot on target. Diskerud was given far too much space at the top of the box and placed his shot perfectly, so there really wasn't much Ricketts could have done.
D, Brek Shea, 7.0 -- The Shea-at-fullback experiment is off to a solid start! He got forward increasingly well as the game progressed and made a couple NYCFC defenders look silly. More importantly, he avoided any defensive gaffes and tracked the speedy Khiry Shelton well at one point to deny a breakaway chance.
D, Seb Hines, 6.5 -- The loanee earned the start over Sean St. Ledger and was serviceable for 90 minutes. He was very strong in the air on the offensive end, though he had a couple bad giveaways and slip-ups on defense. He'll certainly be called upon again on Friday with Collin out with a red card.
D, Aurelien Collin, 5.0 -- The birthday boy was having a fairly strong match prior to the red card, but he put his team in a difficult spot with his ill-advised tackle on Villa. Collin will be thanking the soccer gods that Kaká's deflected goal bailed him out.
D, Rafael Ramos, 5.0 -- The youngster was very quiet in his first MLS match, though that's not necessarily a bad thing. He failed to really get involved in the attack consistently, but he also held his own on defense. It remains to be seen whether or not he'll be able to get forward with more confidence as the season goes on.
M, Amobi Okugo, 7.5 -- Okugo handled the field-general role he has assumed for the Lions with gusto. He dropped deep for most of the match, but he nearly scored for the Lions when his header at the end of the first half was saved off the line by an NYCFC defender.
M, Cristian Higuita, 4.5 -- The Colombian had flashes of creativity, but he also had a few too many giveaways for a holding midfielder. He earned a yellow in the 77th minute for diving in the New York penalty box.
M, Lewis Neal, 5.0 -- The veteran was more or less a non-factor, failing to really find the game for most of the night. To his credit, he was positionally sound, and covered for Shea when the fullback got forward.
M, Kaká, 8.0 -- It was more luck than skill, but his 91st minute equalizer was the difference for Orlando City. He was very active overall though, leading the team with three shots and generally orchestrating the Lions' attack.
M, Kevin Molino, 7.0 -- It was a tale of two halves for Molino. He may have been the best player on the pitch in the first half, but he nearly disappeared in the second. He nearly scored in first half injury time, and he regained his first half form in time to earn the free kick that led to Orlando's goal. If he can put together a full 90 minutes at the rate he played at in the first half, his first season in MLS should be a good one.
F, Carlos Rivas, 5.0 -- There were flashes of speed and skill, but Rivas just wasn't quite on the same page as Kaká and Molino. He was caught offside three times, and just wasn't able to combine with the other Orlando attackers. Fans will question Head Coach Adrian Heath's decision to start Rivas, who hasn't played forward for Orlando in any of their preseason matches and in fact spent most of the preseason injured.
F, Bryan Rochez, 5.5 -- Just a cameo for the Honduran, who had started the majority of Orlando's preseason matches. He brought some energy to the attack when he entered, but failed to really have an impact on the match.
D, Sean St. Ledger, N/A -- Entered in injury time as an extra defender for Orlando City.
What are your thoughts on the match? Did anyone deserve a better grade? Let us know in the comment section.