Orlando City Draws Against Chicago Fire After Being Down To 9-Men On the Field

By  //  June 5, 2017

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Orlando City 0, Chicago Fire 0

ABOVE VIDEO: Orlando City SC (7-5-3, 24 points) played with 10 men for 40 minutes and with nine for nearly half an hour but hung on to a scoreless draw against the Chicago Fire (7-3-4, 25 points) Sunday night at Orlando City Stadium.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA (Orlando City) – Orlando City SC (7-5-3, 24 points) played with 10 men for 40 minutes and with nine for nearly half an hour but hung on to a scoreless draw against the Chicago Fire (7-3-4, 25 points) Sunday night at Orlando City Stadium.

Defender Rafael Ramos made his season debut and Joe Bendik tied his own Club single-season clean sheet record with five.

“I don’t want to talk about the decisions tonight because for me I don’t think it’s fair to the players to bring up a negative point of view,” Lions Head Coach Jason Kreis said.

“For me the point of view should only be positive because the work that those guys put in tonight, the togetherness that those guys showed tonight, the commitment level that those guys showed tonight, what they were willing to do for each other, for themselves and for the fans I think was second to none.”

Orlando City SC (7-5-3, 24 points) played with 10 men for 40 minutes and with nine for nearly half an hour but hung on to a scoreless draw against the Chicago Fire (7-3-4, 25 points) Sunday night at Orlando City Stadium. (OC Image)

In addition to Ramos, Léo Pereira and PC returned to the starting XI and played a crucial role in the Lions’ second consecutive clean sheet. Orlando City showed promise early in the match, but Ramos’ first appearance of 2017 was cut short when he was issued a straight red card in the 26th minute. Ramos collided with Fire attacker David Accam going after a falling 50/50 ball.

Kreis stuck with the lineup the remainder of the half, moving Will Johnson to right back. He brought in Scott Sutter—who had played every minute at right back since debuting on April 1—in place of Giles Barnes. Kaká came on in the 59th minute in place of Carlos Rivas to try and spark the Lions’ attack, but efforts for three points were put to an end when Antonio Nocerino was shown a straight red card in the 66th minute.

It was the first time Orlando City was reduced to nine men since August 2015 in Toronto.

“We wanted to keep as many attacking players out there to see if we could hit them on the break,” Kreis continued. “We weren’t throwing in the towel by any means. Even as the game wore on at halftime I’m talking to the coaching staff about how we’re going to win the game, not about how we’re going to draw the game. All of our decisions were bending that way until we get the second ejection and then it’s just like, ‘How are we going to hold on?’

City continued withstanding wave after wave of pressure from Chicago and Kreis inserted defensive midfielder Servando Carrasco into the match for Cyle Larin.

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Bendik came up big again and then got some help from the woodwork in the waning seconds. In the first minute of stoppage time, Matt Polster blasted a shot from 15 yards out that rang off the bottom of the bar straight down and straight back up. Replays clearly showed the ball did not cross the line. Then on the Fire’s last push, PC deflected David Arshakyan’s sharp-angle shot off the bar.

Bendik, who along with Jonathan Spector was named yesterday to the United States’ 40-man national team ahead of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, finished with six saves.

Orlando City will see a two-week break from MLS play for the FIFA international window. The Lions begin their 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run on Wednesday, June 14, against Miami FC. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET at Orlando City Stadium.


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