Orlando City SC started behind, but showed good effort to get one point in a 1-1 tie with Columbus Crew SC. The result makes the Lions’ playoff run more difficult, but still possible. Here are our five takeaways from the match.
Still a Tough Path
Despite the point earned, Orlando City’s road to the playoffs is still a tough one. According to FiveThiryEight, Orlando has a 6% chance of advancing to the postseason. The Lions are currently eighth in the Eastern Conference, with 31 points, five behind Crew SC and the Montreal Impact. Between them, though, there is still Atlanta United, with 35 points and 22 matches — three fewer than Orlando. If that weren’t enough, keep in mind that the Lions will be on the road in four of their next five matches.
Conceding First is Bad
Orlando is still to win a match this season when it conceded before its opponent. The Lions now have a record of 0-8-3 when they start the game trailing and the team's inability to revert results is taking its toll. Against Crew SC, the team fought until the end, dominating in possession (55.5%-44.5%) and shots (20-4), but failed to take the three points home despite playing against a 10-man team for the final 19 minutes.
Mistake on Set Piece Makes Orlando Pay
Crew SC was not dangerous for most of the match, having only two shots on target, but they were helped by a defensive collapse in Orlando’s box to score their goal. One of the shorter players in the box, defender Lalas Abubakar outran Cyle Larin to head the ball to the back of the net from very close range. With a little bit more attention, the goal could be easily avoided.
Higuita Brings Energy From the Bench
Called by Head Coach Jason Kreis to replace the injured Will Johnson early in the 32nd minute, Cristian Higuita had a positive performance and impacted the game on both sides of the ball. The Colombian brought his usual energy on defense, leading the team with four tackles, but also showed a good offensive skill set, feeding Giles Barnes on the equalizer and amassing two shots.
Captain in the Stands
Suspended by a controversial red card received last week against the New York Red Bulls, Kaká was not on the field but he made his presence felt at Orlando City Stadium. The captain was spotted a few times on TV enjoying himself among the supporters in The Wall, the standing section of the stadium. Despite the tie, the Brazilian seemed to have had a very intense and fun night.
That’s what I saw in last night’s 1-1 draw at Orlando City Stadium. What stood out to you? Let us know in the comments section below.