Orlando City spent much of Wednesday night’s game in Seattle on the back foot and down a goal. But despite chasing the game for over 70 minutes, the Lions were able to hold on and score the equalizer with the last touch of the ball. A 1-1 draw with the defending MLS champions is not a bad way to start a difficult road trip.
Here are five takeaways from Wednesday night’s draw in Seattle.
A Point Gained
While Orlando City has been quite good at home, the team has often struggled on the road. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Away games can be very difficult, especially in MLS with long travel and different climates. Gaining any points on the road have value and, especially considering the Lions are beginning a long, difficult road trip, starting with a point against the defending MLS champions is a big plus.
Bendik Call-Up Could Spell Trouble
Not that it should surprise anyone but Joe Bendik could very well be called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup. If there’s one player the Lions can’t lose, it’s their number one. The team too often depends on its starting shot stopper for miraculous saves to keep the club in games. That occurred again in Seattle, where Bendik was called upon to make huge saves with the Lions down 1-0. His excellent play kept his team in the game and allowed his teammates to score the equalizer as time expired. If Bendik does leave and misses some games, the duty will fall on Josh Saunders, a clearly less-than-equal replacement. That could cause for some unfavorable results for the boys in purple.
Redding Earns His Place
Tommy Redding got off to a good start this season but missed several games while away with the U.S. under-20 national team. In his absence, both Leo Pereira and Jose Aja failed to win the spot next to Jonathan Spector. This gave Redding the opportunity to win his spot back and it appears he has. After replacing Aja against Montreal over the weekend, Redding played very strong with a lot of confidence in finishing the game. He continued that strong play in Seattle, showing that he’s the right man to play alongside Spector.
Where Have These Defender Goals Come From?
It’s not often that defenders score goals and it’s much rarer that they score important goals. But in the past two games, Orlando City defenders have scored late into stoppage time, securing draws for the Lions. Not only were these goals nearly the last kick of the ball and goals that claimed points, they were also the first goal for the club for both Jonathan Spector and Scott Sutter. What a way to open your account.
Playing From Behind? No Problem Say These Lions
It’s difficult enough when you’re playing in one of the most hostile environments in the country, but it’s even harder when you spend most of the game defending. Despite the fact that Seattle finished with over 52 percent of the ball, Orlando City was able to defend strong and attack when it needed to at the end. Great saves and last-ditch tackles kept the deficit at one, allowing the Lions to score the equalizer with the last touch of the ball. There will be games, especially against tough teams away, where possession will be rare. But the Lions showed that they can keep the opposition at bay long enough to find that goal. That’s a very positive thing going forward.
These are my five takeaways from Wednesday night’s draw in Seattle. What did you see? Let us know in the comments below.