Tonight's match-up with the defending MLS Eastern Conference Champion New England Revolution was a tale of two halves with Orlando City storming back in the second half to tie things up after going down by two goals. New England looked the better team in the first half, but both goals came off of Orlando mistakes. Fortune favors the bold, and New England capitalized well.
The second half saw Orlando City coach Adrian Heath shuffle the lineup after the break and undoubtedly a stern halftime speech inspired the Lions to charge back in the second half. As a team still looking for its groove, coming back from a two-goal deficit against an exceptional New England squad will do a lot to spread belief in the City locker room.
G, Donovan Ricketts, 5.5 -- Might be a bit of a harsh score for the veteran keeper. Not sure how much he could have done on either goal. I'm still waiting for Ricketts to step in and better organize his defense. Does the impending arrival of Tally Hall take away his mandate to direct the City back line?
D, Luke Boden, 7.5 -- Fan favorite Boden proved solid in his second MLS start. Active on the offense and architect of the game-tying goal, he still looked a step or two slower than the Revs' attack at times.
D, Seb Hines, 5 -- Quiet night for Hines and guilty on one of New England's goals. Still a mostly solid outing for the Englishman. With eager youngsters and veteran Sean St. Ledger behind him, he needs to up his performances if he wants to continue seeing the field for 90 minutes.
D, Aurelien Collin, 8 -- I had Collin down as my Man of the Match before the game-tying goal. Solid in back with some crucial tackles, the Frenchman kept Orlando City in the game against a very good and in-sync New England attack. Getting forward when the club was in the hunt for a goal added a unique wrinkle into the offense.
D, Rafael Ramos, 6 -- Ramos had some rough stretches early. Maybe the youngster was nervous being back on the field after his red card in Columbus. Fully at fault for the second New England goal. He looked solid going forward and assisted on Cyle Larin's goal to bring City back into the game. This game should do a lot to help build the player's confidence in MLS. Better reaction tonight after the mistake than what we saw in Columbus.
MF, Darwin Ceren, 7 -- I thought Ceren had one of his better games in MLS tonight. After a few negative backwards passes, he turned his head up field and became active in the midfield. His signature aggressiveness made New England have to pay attention to him, leaving more space for his teammates.
MF, Amobi Okugo, 4 -- Rough night for Okugo. He was culpable on the first Revolution goal with his howler of a giveaway. His night ended at halftime when Heath pulled him off for Cristian Higuita. That was the right call. With the yellow card tonight, Okugo will have some time to sort things out and find his way back to form. He will want to put tonight behind him.
MF, Eric Avila, 5.5 -- A solid game for Avila without being flashy. Should have connected on a volley at the top of the box with plenty of space. A shot I'm sure he'd want back again and would bury most of the time.
MF, Kaká, 6.5 -- Kaká didn't have a bad game, but he certainly looks like he is still struggling to find his form in MLS. Another game to keep learning the league and his teammates won't hurt the superstar any. Still showing all the flashes that tell us he is ready to explode one of these days. With D.C. United away and LA Galaxy at home there is no time like the present.
MF, Brek Shea, 6.5 -- Shea played well in bursts and like Kaká was crucial to the overall attack. Still, I think the national team player didn't settle into his return to the midfield like most fans expected him to and like he did in the friendly against Ponte Preta. Like Kaká I think Shea's best game in City purple is still yet to come.
F, Cyle Larin, 7 -- Larin continues to settle into the still-evolving Orlando attack. He had a solid night where he showed the threat he can become in this league. His goal was well taken and will do a lot for his confidence. Strikers need goals and this is Larin's second goal in two games.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 6 -- His insertion in the second half for Okugo changed the momentum of the game in Orlando's favor. Still, he didn't add a whole lot on his own. This score reflects the positives of taking Okugo off more than what Higuita added on his own.
MF,Carlos Rivas, 6.5 -- Still waiting for Rivas to show his powerful shot off and make an MLS highlight/ Goal of the Week shout. A solid outing off the bench for the young DP without being anything extraordinary.
F, Bryan Róchez, 6 -- Wasn't sure Larin needed to come off, but it was good to see Róchez get some minutes in a big game like this. It was a performance that will give Orlando's other young DP some confidence as he looked good in front of the goal and nearly connected on a wonder bicycle kick. Good experience for Róchez.
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There you have it, Orlando City scores another moral victory in front of the home fans while still not winning one in the Citrus Bowl. Still, coming from two goals behind to tie will do a lot for the confidence of the franchise and the supporters. With D.C. United at RFK and LA Galaxy back at home next up, they are going to need to keep building that confidence and keep looking for those elusive wins.