Orlando City players can leave this game with their heads held high despite dropping two more points during this abysmal July-August stretch. For the first time since the win over Columbus on Aug. 1, the Lions were the better side and, aside from a few Chicago counters, completely controlled the match.
If not for some golden opportunities that went wanting, City would have grabbed all three points and stopped the bleeding with a victory on a night when it would have been far too easy to quit. Persistent rain, lightning delays and an early 1-0 deficit could not keep the Lions down, as Orlando battled for the full 90 minutes and always seemed the more likely team to score, save for a brief spell consisting of multiple Fire corner kicks.
Let's get to our player grades and Man of the Match (and you can vote for your MotM in our poll below):
GK, Tally Hall, 6 - Perhaps could have done more on Accam's goal in the 30th -- getting beat at the near post from a severe angle -- but made a diving one-handed stop to keep the game at 1-0 on Eric Gehrig's header off a cheeky free kick play. Controlled his box well and made himself big when the speedy Chicago wingers and forwards beat their men wide.
D, Luke Boden, 6 - An uneven game for Bodz, who got forward more often than he has in recent matches, but wasn't always sharp when doing so. In the 12th minute he sent a good ball forward for Rivas. Turned the ball over to Patrick Nyarko in the 32nd and then took a yellow card to thwart the counter. His corner kicks were only OK but he did have some good interchange with Carlos Rivas down the left.
D, Aurelien Collin, 6.5 - Badly missed a slide tackle, allowing a 2-on-1 early, but David Accam helped by losing the ball with no one around him. Busted up a Kennedy Igboananike rush and led the break late in the second half. Was strong in the air and finished with a team-high 84 touches, completing 81.8 percent of his passes.
D, David Mateos, 6 - A better outing than we've seen so far from the newcomer, although he fell asleep on a free kick and nearly let Gehrig score in the 34th minute. Won some important challenges when Chicago pushed forward but perhaps could have been better in the air on set pieces. A promising game, overall as he gets to know his teammates better.
D, Corey Ashe, 5.5 - Was abused in the 30th minute by Accam, giving up a goal from a seemingly harmless ball in the corner. Despite that tough moment, he rebounded to have a pretty good game, playing on the right instead of his favored left. Ashe's crosses weren't nearly as accurate coming off his right foot.
MF, Cristian Higuita, 7.5 (MOTM) - Was a force in the midfield much of the night, breaking up plays, and hustling all over the pitch. Had one of his strongest outings in a long time, avoiding rash challenges and getting involved in the offensive side, as well as picking out the right pass on most occasions. Completed 86.8 percent of his passes, won a game-high five tackles and won as many fouls as he conceded (two of each).
MF, Darwin Ceren, 5.5 - Started the match very slowly, giving the ball away in the fourth minute that led to a chance for Accam. Lost track of Gehrig on a free kick in the 15th minute, but luckily the defender headed it high. Generally passed poorly much of the game, however, he played much better in the final 30 minutes than in the first 60, including a late blast in stoppage time that forced a Sean Johnson save. Sent Rivas up the left side with a perfect long ball in the 57th for maybe his finest moment of the match.
MF, Carlos Rivas, 6.5 - Used his speed well in the first half. Drew a foul on a frustrated Gehrig in the 44th minute. Provided a great cross to set up Kaká all alone at the top of the box in the 57th, but the captain missed the shot. Worked some magic in the 70th to earn a corner, beating two Fire players with a move into the area. A positive outing that the young Colombian can build on, although he still misses too many shots high and he was given a brilliant chance late, only to knock it off the outside of the post.
MF, Kaká, 6 - The captain certainly worked as hard as we've seen but it didn't translate into much in the way of chances. Missed a golden opportunity from the top of the box at 57' off a beautiful feed from Carlos Rivas. Drew a free kick in a good spot in the 80th. Passing accuracy won't reflect some of the runs he expected to be made, but weren't. But he helped the club control the middle of the pitch, which led to Orlando's 62.7 percent possession.
MF, Lewis Neal, 4 - Provided outstanding service on the own-goal in the 37th, but blew a golden chance in the 42nd minute when Larin gave him the ball on a platter -- and he skied it over the bar. Overall, it was a tough night for Neal, who turned the ball over too cheaply with frequency. He did manage to draw a free kick and a yellow on Kennedy Ibgoananike in the 77th with a nice touch but it was certainly not Neal's best outing.
F, Cyle Larin, 7 - Got into dangerous positions from the game's first moments. He missed the net on a chance after a nice run in the sixth minute and his hustle in the 10th led to a corner. He got loose in the box in the 37th minute and his presence and positioning helped create Gehrig's own-goal. The goal will be reviewed to see if Larin's touch directed it on frame before it hit Gehrig's shoulder, but even if he doesn't get credit for it, he made it happen. Undressed Gehrig in the 81st with his final involvement of the game, and fed Rivas a sitter that the Colombian hit off the outside of the woodwork.
F, Pedro Ribeiro (82'), N/A - Had one nice interchange with Carlos Rivas in the late going but didn't have a chance to impact the match with only three touches.
MF, Servando Carrasco (86'), N/A - Came on late for Cristian Higuita and touched the ball five times.