Orlando City ran its unbeaten streak at home to 13 games on Wednesday night with a 2-2 draw against the Philadelphia Union, the Lions' sixth draw in 12 games this season.
It wasn't the prettiest game -- it never is -- but a point is a point, and that's better than losing, so it's not worth getting that upset about.
Anyway, here are my five takeaways from the match:
The Floor Is Lava
We all played that game when we were a child, and Orlando City has been very good at playing that game this season -- with the penalty box serving as the aforementioned lava. Throughout the first half, Orlando City looked good in the midfield with its possession, moving up the field nicely from the back, but once play hit the final third, everything broke down. The team only got off nine shots in the entire match, and struggled to string together any key passes inside the penalty area, as you can see from this nifty passing chart below.
Gotta do a better job of putting that pressure in the goalkeeper's face.
Rough Night for Kaká
Last night might have been one of Kaká's worst games for Orlando City this season. The Lions' captain put up a team-low 68.6 percent passing percentage on just 35 total passes. He only touched the ball 63 times, and was credited with just two chances created. Whereas he was one of the most productive players for Orlando City against Montreal in the club's last match, Kaká was essentially a non-factor against the Philadelphia Union.
After putting in the full 90 minutes on Wednesday night, it'll be interesting to see to what extent Kaká will be available when Orlando City travels back to Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
So This Is What Justice Feels Like
It seems like every time the referees mess up, it's against Orlando City. Finally, the club had a couple of very questionable calls go in their favor, both on the two second-half goals that ultimately helped the team pull a point out of this match. The first came on Kevin Molino's goal, when Cyle Larin collided with Union goalkeeper Andre Blake. The referee let play go on, and Molino knocked in the open-netter to level the score. Shortly after, Larin willed a shot that looked to just creep over the goal line to put Orlando City up 2-1. While there's no definitive replay that shows whether or not Larin's shot made it completely over the line, it counted as his seventh goal of the season, and Philadelphia potentially lost two points because of it.
Well Done, Orlando -- Again
For a midweek game against a less-popular opponent, Orlando City fans showed up very, very well on Wednesday night, with an official announced attendance of 24,109. Obviously, this isn't all that surprising, considering the team is one of the highest draws in MLS every week, but it certainly drains some of the notion that teams can't draw well during midweek games.
For comparison, the U.S. Men's National Team game in Frisco, TX, the home of FC Dallas, draw just a measly 9,893. So, uh, hey there, U.S. Soccer: maybe wanna throw a USMNT game our way some time? I think we've kinda earned it. What has Texas done for you lately?
More like Stretched Out, Amirite?
Any Twenty One Pilots fans out there? No, just me? Okay.
So anyway, Orlando City saw two players receive one-game suspensions against the Union last night: Cristian Higuita picked up his fifth yellow card of the season, which means he'll be forced to sit out Orlando City's next match. And in the 93rd minute, David Mateos picked up a straight red for a reckless tackle just outside of the penalty area. The Lions will be missing both key starters on Sunday when the club plays New York City FC. With Darwin Cerén already out, Rafael Ramos unlikely to return so soon after picking up a hamstring injury, and Seb Hines questionable with a knee injury, the Lions will be stretched very thin on Sunday, If Hines is forced to miss Sunday's game, it'd be easy to see Conor Donovan making his first start of the season alongside Tommy Redding at center back, with Antonio Nocerino starting next to Servando Carrasco in the defensive midfield.
Either way, all that momentum Orlando City could have been riding into the match against NYCFC -- who are coming off a 7-0 loss to their rivals, New York Red Bulls, -- seems to be lost.
What do you think? Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments below!