10-man Chicago halts Orlando City

CITRUS BOWL  —  Even with a player advantage and several scoring opportunities, the Lions have yet to muster their first three points of the season.

Cyle Larin scored the opening goal, and David Accam tied the game minutes later, as a 10-man Chicago Fire held Orlando City to a 1-1 draw Friday night in front of 29,041 in attendance at the Citrus Bowl.

Celebration 2

Kevin Molino, Antonio Nocerino and Adrian Winter flock to Cyle Larin (right) following his second goal of the 2016 season in a match against the Chicago Fire in the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Friday, March 11, 2016. The match ended in a 1-1 draw. (Victor Ng / Orlando Soccer Journal)

“Plenty of opportunities tonight,”Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath said. “I thought we were nearly very good a lot of times. I give [Chicago] great credit. They were well-organized. I don’t think we were good enough. We were at least worthy of the point.”

Larin opened the scoring for Orlando City after finishing off a pass from Kevin Molino in the third minute of play. Accam leveled the scoring in the 14th minute after beating Seb Hines on a one-on-one to slot the ball past goalkeeper Joe Bendik.

Molino nearly gave Orlando the lead again moments after when his shot from outside the box was saved by Fire goalkeeper Matt Lampson.

Michael Harrington of Chicago picked up a red card and saw the Fire go down to 10 men after initially fouling Brek Shea.

With the Fire down a man, Vejko Paunovic’s men managed to outshoot Orlando City 7-6 in the first half. Orlando City, however, answered back with a strong second half to outshoot Chicago 13-7.

“We just didn’t give enough,” Larin said. “If we pushed on more — they had 10 men — we would’ve came out with three points.”

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Cyle Larin addresses the media in the post-game conference following a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire in the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Friday, March 11, 2016. (Victor Ng / Orlando Soccer Journal)

Cristian Higuita, who missed the season-opener on March 6 because of suspension, played 73 minutes. University of Central Florida alumnus Hadji Barry came in for the Colombian.

Antonio Nocerino, who joined Orlando City from AC Milan earlier this month, made his first start in a the purple kit. Pedro Ribeiro came in for the Italian in the 62nd minute.

Antonio Nocerino 2

Antonio Nocerino bangs a corner kick into the Chicago Fire’s box in a 1-1 draw in the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Friday, March 11, 2016. (Victor Ng / Orlando Soccer Journal)

Orlando City visits New York City FC next week at Yankee Stadium. Chicago returns to Toyota Park on Saturday, March 19, when they host the Columbus Crew.

Follow Mike Gramajo on Twitter (@byMikeGramajo). For more, also follow the OSJ on Twitter (@OSJSoccer).

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