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Orlando City vs. New York Red Bulls: Five Takeaways

Our five takeaways from a messy match in New Jersey that included another goal by Cyle Larin and another missed call by the referee.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Well, Orlando City had the lead at one point, and then it didn't.

The Lions went on the road to Harrison, NJ, a place that saw them as 5-2 winners late last season, and this time struggled to recapture that same magic, losing to the New York Red Bulls, 3-2, on Sunday night.

Our five takeaways from the messy match:

Orlando City Lost That Game

You can blame the refs all you want, and every week it seems like we're doing just that, but the referees didn't give up three goals in 10 minutes. The refs didn't force Orlando City to just 41 percent of possession. The refs didn't make Orlando City turn the ball over time after time after time after time after time. Yes, not calling an obvious red card-worthy foul and dangerous free kick is tough, and could have easily changed the game, but the Lions were still up 1-0 at the time of that play, and it was on them to not let in three unanswered.

The Red Bulls were the better team for 90 minutes, and Orlando City got the result it deserved. Simple as that.

Death, Taxes, and Joe Bendik

If there had to be a Man of the Match for Orlando City, it would undoubtedly go to Bendik in this one for his monstrous effort. The three goals aside, he was the only thing that kept the Lions in the match for as long as they were, making six saves, with a couple of Save of the Week nominations peppered in there as well. Tally who? That's exactly what Bendik is making fans think this season.

Another Big Night for Tommy Redding

I think as people continue to talk about how great Cyle Larin and Cristian Higuita have been for this team, more people will begin to talk about just how good Tommy Redding has become, too. He was a stud through the first 45 minutes, and while he played a role in each of the New York goals, it's not something he can't learn from and get better in the end, which he'll definitely do from tonight's performance. Aurelien Collin's first-team stay died for this kid, and it's been a pretty good transition thus far.

It's Good To Have You Back

Cristian Higuita made his return to the pitch for Orlando City after missing the last two games due to injury, and he could not have been a more dominating force throughout the match. And while some his lowest moments helped hinder the night for the Lions -- one of his four fouls created a free kick that led to a New York goal -- he displayed that same strength to win the ball and control the midfield that Orlando City had been missing the past two weeks. Higuita picked up a yellow card near the end, but that's only because it's obligatory he gets at least one yellow in every match.

Lions Struggled Against High Pressure

The Red Bulls have struggled mercilessly this season, but they did a lot of things well against Orlando City, and one of those things was holding possession with their high-pressure attack. The Lions struggled to defend the Red Bulls all night, as New York constantly pounded the ball into the penalty area, getting off a total of 25 shots to Orlando's 11. I'm not a mathematician -- heck, I didn't even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night -- but I can tell you the odds won't be in your favor there. And normally when a team plays high pressure it leaves them open to counter-attacks, and Orlando wasn't able to put many of those together in this one.

Bonus Thoughts

Julio Baptista didn't have the attacking presence that he did last week against New England, but he moved around, tracked back on defense, and kept himself a part of the game, even when the play wasn't going forward. So that's always good to see, especially out of old legs.

The Lions struggled to create any flow with the 4-4-2, and lacked shape a lot of the time. They looked very disorganized for parts, and maybe you can blame some of that on the lack of Kaká.