Coming off a third consecutive shutout on Wednesday in New York, Orlando City finally found the back of the net — twice — but it wasn’t enough to overcome a pair of late first-half goals from the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Lions picked up their 10th draw of the season all the way across the continent in a 2-2 draw at BC Place in British Columbia.
If not for a skied penalty kick from Julio Baptista at the hour mark, Orlando City (4-5-10, 22 points) could have picked up its first road win since March 18 at Yankee Stadium.
Orlando City came out looking calm and decisive in their attacking approach, something we haven’t seen from the team much recently — in the midst of a three-game goal-less drought — and finally brought it all together in the 13th minute when Baptista put the Lions on the board for the first time in three weeks with a one-time shot at the top of the box off an assist from Luke Boden to make it 1-0 early.
It was not only Baptista’s third goal of the season, but Orlando City’s first road goal in MLS play since May 29 at New York City FC — also a 2-2 draw. Baptista had an opportunity in the second half to restore Orlando's lead from the penalty spot, but, his top right corner attempt missed badly.
After a good 35 minutes of play to start the match, the final 10 minutes of the first half will go down as span to forget for Orlando City, as the Whitecaps (8-8-5, 29 points) struck back with a pair of goals to put them in front heading into the halftime break.
First, Nicolas Mezquida snuck one past Bendik in the 35th minute on the heels of Boden's decision to pass the ball out of the box rather than clear it, setting up another run at goal for the Caps. Masato Kudo’s shot was saved by Bendik, but Mezquida was there to head in the rebound effort to level the score.
Eight minutes later, it was Kudo in the middle of the action yet again, this time scoring one himself. Off of a Pedro Morales free kick, Kudo found himself all alone on the back post to head one into the net and put the home side up 2-1.
Cyle Larin’s attempt on goal in stoppage time was denied by a great save from David Ousted, who came into the match with a league-high 75 saves on 111 shots.
But Larin was eventually able to get the best of Ousted not much later. Just five minutes into the second half, Larin headed home his ninth goal of the season off a perfectly placed back-post cross from Kevin Molino, who also tallied his sixth assist of the year, moving into the team lead in that category.
With the score all level again, both sides traded chances. First Baptista and his earned penalty in the 60th minute, then moments later on the other end, Bendik came up with a big save of his own. Ousted again came up heroic for his side in the 88th minute with a save on a close-range header by David Mateos.
The Lions, in the end, fell short and will head back home for a much needed week of rest before their third and final game of this road trip against the Columbus Crew next Saturday.