It's always hard to give up points at home, but at least you can't say Orlando City isn't exciting!
For the third time this season, the Lions needed a dramatic, last-minute goal to earn a draw at home. It was against NYCFC to open the year, then the 2-2 draw against New England, and finally Pedro Ribeiro's scorcher this weekend against Columbus Crew SC.
Head Coach Adrian Heath would be the first to tell you that one point at home isn't acceptable, but it's hard not to admire the Lions' resilience. It's also the first time all season Orlando has earned a result in three consecutive matches, so we've got that going for us!
Here are our five takeaways from the match:
Carlos Rivas Struggles on the Wing
At long last, Brek Shea's suspension provided a chance for the young Deportivo Cali product to shine at his natural position on the left wing. Unfortunately, it wasn't the performance many were hoping for.
Rivas looked lost at times, and seemed to be totally out of sync with his teammates up top. Not a huge surprise, given his lack of playing time, but still a major disappointment for all involved. He'll have nightmares this week about his missed chances in the 49th and 53rd minutes.
On the first, he was in 1v1 on Clark, and had all day to beat the Columbus keeper. On the second, Larin set him up for a sitter, and he put it over the bar from just a couple yards off the line. Instead of putting Orlando in the lead, Kei Kamara scored for the Crew just minutes later to put Columbus up 2-1.
Pedro Ribeiro Saves the Day
Up a man for 74 minutes, the dramatic tie didn't feel like a great result for Orlando City. Still, that shouldn't take anything away from Pedro Ribeiro's excellent 89th minute strike.
He entered the match in the 72nd minute, in his first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury against D.C. United nearly two months ago. He didn't need long to shake off the rust, and the goal was a thing of beauty from nearly 25 yards. I wrote about it this week, but can Orlando City really afford to leave Ribeiro on the bench now that he's back healthy?
Great Showing From City Fans...Again
The Crew have never been the sexiest team in Major League Soccer, and this game was one of the few Orlando matches that hasn't been on national TV. Even still, Lions fans were out in force, once again topping 30,000 inside the Citrus Bowl.
The great showing comes on the heels of the announcement this week that the club will privately fund their entire downtown stadium project, and that they will expand its size from 19,500 to somewhere north of 25,000. Maybe it was just the $5 Heineken special, but nothing we saw tonight should make owner Flávio Augusto da Silva regret his decision.
Larin Comes Back to Earth
After putting together one of the best months of any player in Major League Soccer, Cyle Larin had a painfully mediocre performance against the Crew. With Shea out, the chemistry up front seemed to be lacking all night for Orlando. In his defense, his hold-up play showed continued improvement. However, his finishing was totally off on the night. Midway through the first half, he missed a wide open Luke Boden and put a weak shot on goal instead. He was also denied by Steve Clark 1v1 in the first half, and then whiffed on a sitter in the 59th minute.
There will certainly be pressure this week to get Pedro Ribeiro back in the starting XI somehow. I'm not convinced quite yet that it should be at Cyle Larin's expense, but he'll certainly need to improve his performance next week if he hopes to keep that spot.
"Questionable" Red Card
Finally, we'd be remiss not to mention the "questionable" red card in the 16th minute that put the Crew down in the first place. Needless to say, Crew fans weren't pleased.
Easily one of the worst red cards I've ever seen. Completely baffling. Not sure there's any way Parkhurst isn't available next week.— Andrew King (@AndrewKingMLS) May 30, 2015
I've watched it a dozen times now, and I still see a pretty clear red. Parkhurst clearly shifts his body to put his arm in the path of the ball. Yes, I understand that his arm was tucked in to his body, but if you move your entire body to put your arm in the way of the ball, that's a penalty all day in my book. He also seems to stick his elbow out just a bit. That's just me though, you be the judge: