What if I told you Orlando City played 2/3 of a game a man up and failed to score?
Well, that was the case on this Friday night, as the Lions (0-0-2, 2 points) played to a 1-1 draw against Eastern Conference foes the Chicago Fire (0-1-1, 1 point) in front of 29,041 loud fans at the Orlando Citrus Bowl.
After saving the goals for late in the match five days ago, Orlando and Chicago got them out of the way early, scoring both in the first 15 minutes before playing scoreless for the remainder of the match.
"Obviously, I'm disappointed with the final score." head coach Adrian Heath said during his postgame press conference. "We had plenty of opportunities again tonight. I thought we were nearly very good a lot of times, but unfortunately I thought we had three of four players under par tonight."
Cyle Larin broke the scoreless deadlock before it ever really started, firing a second chance effort into the top right corner past Chicago goalkeeper Matt Lampson for his second goal of the season -- No. 19 on his young career -- to put the Lions up in just the fourth minute of the match. Counting the final minute of last weekend's match, it was Larin's second goal in a span of just five minutes, and the second fastest goal for Orlando City in MLS -- you might recall Adrian Winter's third-minute goal against Sporting KC last September.
Though for as quickly as Orlando City grabbed the lead, the Fire wasted little time pulling one back less than 10 minutes later.
A long-range pass down the field by John Goossens in the 14th minute had just enough length on it to reach David Accam, who got to the ball while blowing past Seb Hines, and eventually beating Joe Bendik 1-on-1 for his second goal of the season, as well.
"The kid's quick, it was a great goal." Heath said of Accam's goal. "I'd be easy to mention Tommy [Redding] and Seb [Hines] have to do better. The ball is three quarters of the way off, and they didn't expect it 10 seconds later, to look in the back of the net."
Both teams continued to trade chances following Accam's goal.
Kevin Molino, who assisted on Larin's goal, came up with a great opportunity hardly a minute later, firing a shot on target that Lampson made a good save on to his right. About 10 minutes later, Accam rattled a headed shot off the post that would have given his team the goal advantage.
What should have been a big turning point in the match turned out to be a detail hardly worth mentioning, when Chicago was forced down to 10 men in the 32nd minute for a rough challenge on Brek Shea by defender Michael Harrington. just as they did against RSL, the Lions failed to capitalize any on the advantage, as they struggled to create chances in the final third of the pitch, a problem that haunted the team much of last season.
Even as Orlando City dominated possession, and completed a large majority of its passes, Chicago made it seem as if there was no man advantage at all.
Pedro Ribeiro nearly put the Lions in front in the 78th minute, blasting a deep shot off the post. And less than a minute later, Larin dinged a shot of his own off the post, saving Lampson and Chicago once again.
The Lions continued to push, but couldn't push far enough for the decisive goal.
"I don't think we were good enough." Heath said. "I thought we were at least worthy of a point, we had enough to probably have won the game. But if you're them, you're probably disappointed if you hadn't taken anything from the game."
Antonio Nocerino, who arrived in town exactly a week ago, made his MLS debut with Orlando City, appearing in the starting lineup and playing the first 63 minutes before coming off for Ribeiro. Nocerino didn't have any significant moments in the match, and turned in pretty much the kind of performance you'd expect from a guy who hasn't played a competitive match since August and probably doesn't yet know most of his teammates' names.
With two draws at home under their belts to start the season, Orlando City will hit the road for another Friday night match-up next week against New York City FC at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.