Orlando City Lions Fight For 1-1 Draw Against Chicago Fire In Rainy Fixture
By Jhamie Chin, Orlando City SC // August 30, 2015
ORLANDO, FLORIDA – In a game that featured multiple weather delays and torrential downpour, Orlando City SC (7-12-8, 29 points) battled to a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire (7-13-6, 27 points) at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Saturday night, improving their posture in the Eastern Conference and delivering a spirited performance to the tens of thousands of loyal fans who weathered the rain to cheer on their squad.
The draw moved the Lions into sixth place, one point ahead of the Montreal Impact and fellow expansion club New York City FC.
The Lions fell behind first, despite creating multiple close chances, when David Accam found the back of the net after sneaking his effort in at the near post.
City responded just seven minutes later though when Lewis Neal’s clipped ball into the box forced an own goal from Chicago center-back Eric Gehrig, who was battling in the air with rookie striker Cyle Larin.
In the second half, Orlando threatened on multiple occasions, with Kaka and Rivas both coming close to being heroes in the final 45. In the 57th minute, Rivas pulled the ball back to the Brazilian who was left unmarked on the edge of the area, setting up an effort from Kaka that skipped just wide of the far post.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, the Colombian winger came close to propelling the Lions to victory when Larin rounded Gehrig and laid the ball off to Rivas, whose right-footed strike rattled off the post.
Despite City’s spirited approach to push for the winning goal in the final ten minutes of the game, the referee blew the final whistle after several close opportunities from set-pieces, resulting in a 1-1 final score.
“Obviously I am bitterly disappointed that we couldn’t finish on some of the quality chances we created this evening. A lot of the things we asked the players before the game to show commitment to, like a desire to win the game, I thought they showed it well,” said head coach Adrian Heath.
“It was a really good game. They [Chicago] are always very dangerous on the break because their front four are very dynamic and athletic, so you always are susceptible to getting done on the counter attack. I thought we managed them quite well. In light of everything else that has gone on this evening, it could have been a huge three points for us. I thought our fans were incredible again. I imagine they’re all as wet as I’ve been this evening.”
“It was an incredible show for our supporters and as I always say, they never cease to amaze me and their support was absolutely magnificent again this evening. We will take the point and go again next week,” said Heath.