For the second straight home game, Orlando City outplayed a 2014 MLS playoff team, only to yield the game's only goal on a set piece in the dying moments -- falling 1-0 to D.C. United at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
Second half substitute Luis Silva scored from just outside the box in the 91st minute, curling a kick over the wall and off the hands of a diving Donovan Ricketts to send a huge crowd of 32,822 home brokenhearted. Again.
Orlando City (1-2-2, 5 pts) second-half sub Carlos Rivas had a similar chance to answer 90 seconds later, but his free kick from 30 yards away was just a few feet outside the left post with a lot of steam on it.
It was the same script as last time against Vancouver, as the Lions largely outplayed last season's Eastern Conference champions for 90 minutes and had more than their share of excellent scoring chances, but couldn't finish, sending shot after shot either just wide or too close to goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who made five saves on 17 Orlando shots. DC (3-1-0, 9 pts) finished with 11 shots and also had five on goal.
City had more corners (9-4), open play crosses (22-12), duels won (44-41) and possession (52.4%-47.6%) but again came away with no points and they still have only one deflected free kick goal in three games at home this season.
"It's not very often you create as many chances as we had and not score a goal," said coach Adrian Heath after the match. "I feel for the players, they've done everything they can to win the game."
D.C. United didn't get many scoring chances, but the best ones came after halftime. Sean Franklin's wide open chance sailed well over the bar 11 minutes after the break after he shook free of Brek Shea and a header away from danger by Aurelien Collin fell right to him.
In the 68th minute, Conor Doyle and Chris Pontius somehow failed to put three sitters into the net in rapid succession, as they were robbed by Ricketts, Shea and Ricketts again.
Rivas, Kevin Molino, Amobi Okugo and Cyle Larin combined to provide the Lions' best second-half chances, but the first three of those players missed wide and Larin's shot was in the center and easy for Hamid to handle.
Orlando City was dangerous throughout the first half, with a number of good chances, but veteran goalkeeper Bill Hamid and the right post kept the Lions off the scoreboard through the first 45 minutes.
"We did a lot of good things so we're going to focus on that," said Amobi Okugo after the game. "We're not assassins in that final third and we end up getting punished."
"You guys killed us," United Head Coach Ben Olsen told Okugo after the match. "I don't know how we won."
City's first few good chances came off set pieces, as the Lions attacked the box on some early corner kicks. The first chance fell on Kaká's cross to Brek Shea, who had just regained his footing after falling to the turf. The USMNT left back couldn't dig the ball out of his boots for a shot.
Off another corner at the 18-minute mark, Kaká played short to Shea who fired in a beautiful left-footed cross. Amobi Okugo got his head to it but thumped it just wide to the right. Seven minutes later, another corner from Kaká found Aurelien Collin in the box, but his header was pushed wide left.
The attack only increased from there, as Orlando became more dangerous after replacing an injured Pedro Ribeiro, who appeared to pull a hamstring trying to fight off Kofi Opare to get a shot on the rush. Ribeiro was replaced by rookie Cyle Larin, who had an immediate impact on the offense.
Four minutes after coming on, Larin had a shot blocked at the top of the box by defender Bobby Boswell. He was played in alone moments later but was (seemingly quite wrongly) judged offside. At the 30-minute mark, the Canadian international earned Orlando a free kick, as he continued to leave a mark on the match.
Shea produced the first golden opportunity 31 minutes in with another sensational cross to Kevin Molino, who took a bit of a heavy touch and then rocketed a shot off the right post from a tough angle. Two minutes later, Molino's scoop pass set up Rafael Ramos, who was denied by a sliding Hamid.
D.C. United did manage a few dangerous plays in the first half. At 33' United worked a free kick about 30 yards out in a dangerous spot, but Tyler Kemp skied his shot well over the bar. Minutes later, Kemp got free down the left side and slid a cross into the bos, but Okugo and Seb Hines were there to clear the danger.
Play opened up for the remainder of the half, with Molino again getting robbed by Hamid at 41' off a Kaká pass. The Trinidadian had Larin to his left for a sitter, but did not see him. Kaká continued his display of brilliance with a run up the right side and a perfect pass to Larin, who chested down but volleyed well wide at 43'.
DC worked a couple of Chris Rolfe chances before the half, with the first easily saved by Donovan Ricketts on a shot from the top of the 18-yard box and the second sailing wide on a gorgeous volley.
Before the whistle blew, Larin got a third shot off, heading down yet another service from Kaká, but right at Hamid.
Orlando City enjoyed a 53.7%-46.3% possession advantage in the opening half, along with an 8-4 shots advantage and 3-1 edge in shots on target. But for Hamid, Orlando might have led by three goals.
Regardless of how they've played, and much of the night you could argue it was their best performance of the season, Orlando City has only one point in three home matches. That's not going to get it done at any level, and they must start finishing and reaping the rewards for carrying the play.
The Lions won't have to try to score a goal at the Citrus Bowl again until April 26, with two road games coming up against Portland and Columbus.