Orlando City 1-1 New York Red Bulls: Honors shared in fiery encounter
New York claimed their first away point this season | Photo: Bernard Walls/VAVEL USA

The points were shared at the Citrus Bowl Friday evening as Orlando City SC came back from a goal down to draw with the New York Red Bulls 1-1.

Bradley Wright-Phillips gave the visitors the lead 18 minutes in with a cool finish after a slick pass from Sacha Kljestan, however the Englishman’s strike was cancelled out in the 66th minute when Kevin Molino fired in the equaliser.

Orlando start strong

The hosts started brightly when in the third minute Cyle Larin was slipped in behind the New York Red Bulls by a slick pass from Rafael Ramos. However, the Orlando City number 9 couldn’t keep his shot down as the ball flew high over the bar.

Whilst the opening 15 minutes of the match saw few chances, both teams showed off excellent displays of passing around the pitch, however the defence work from both teams was equally impressive.

Orlando’s quick passing almost paid off when Kaka and Larin linked up perfectly whilst on the break, however Larin made the wrong decision as the Canadian forward decided to pull the ball back to his captain from 12 yards out and Luis Robles saved the Brazilian’s effort with ease.

Super Sacha

It was New York who took the lead in the 18th minute when Wright-Phillips clinically poked the ball past Joe Bendik.

Kljestan picked out his teammate with an inch-perfect through ball, splitting the defence Orlando defence with ease, and setting Wright-Phillips up for his third goal of the season.

It was a hard-fought battle Friday night | Photo: Bernard Walls/VAVEL USA
It was a hard-fought battle Friday night | Photo: Bernard Walls/VAVEL USA

Dirty play

The game turned sour shortly after the Red Bulls took the lead, with tackles flying in from every angle of the pitch.

Ramos picked up a yellow card for mocking the referee after a horrendous challenge on Dax McCarty, and Kaka was booked moments later for arguing the referee after multiple challenges had gone uncalled from the visitors.

Robles was the hero for New York again in the 39th minute when Kaka fired from distance, pulling the Red Bulls keeper into a good save. Larin was there to pounce on the loose ball from close range, yet Robles made an incredible save to deny last seasons Rookie of the Year an equalising goal.

A false call

Orlando thought they had won a penalty seconds before the half-time whistle after the linesman raised his flag during an Orlando attack. The referee believed the flag was a call for a penalty, however after a quick talk with the linesman, offside was called, and boos ran around the Citrus Bowl as the half-time whistle blew.

After the frustrating first half, the Lions were keen to avenge New York in the second half. However this half took a lot longer to come alive compared to the first.

Bad blood

Kaka could have equalized for Orlando 56 minutes in when the former AC Milan playmaker flicked the ball over Sal Zizzo, and fired a mean volley on target. But, Robles was there again to make the save.

The bad blood from the first half spilled over into the second when Lloyd Sam handled the ball out of Bendik’s hands as the keeper was about to dropkick the ball, causing tension between the two players, and seeing Sam rightly received a yellow card.

Orlando comeback

A second goal in the match was inevitable, and it eventually game in the 66th minute through Orlando City winger Kevin Molino.

Larin worked the ball into the penalty box, before getting a shot off and forcing a save from Robles. However, his save fell straight into the path of Molino, who smashed the ball into the gaping net to level the game for Orlando.

Golden chance for New York

Orlando might have had the upper hand with Molino’s goal, but it was the visitors who came close to adding a second goal when Kljestan set up Felipe for a golden opportunity to score the potential winner. However, Ramos brilliantly blocked the shot, and kept the Lions in the game.

Red for Higuita

It was inevitable that someone would see red due to the nature of the game, and that moment came in the 85th minute when Cristian Higuita was given a straight red card for a two-footed challenge on Kljestan, leaving the referee no chance but to send the Colombian off.

Orlando didn’t struggle with 10 men as the hosts managed to see out the game, and it finished 1-1.