Card-littered bout with Red Bulls ends in draw

Scoring recap

The second of three matches with the New York Red Bulls concluded with nine total cards called, the most for the Lions in any match in the 2016 season. Despite having five of the fouls committed, Orlando City managed to tie the Red Bulls 1-1 Friday night at Camping World Stadium.

“I thought we deserved more [points] this evening,” Lions head coach Adrian Heath said. “I’m disappointed for the players because I thought their effort that they put in tonight could have warranted three points. But hey, I just said to the players, ‘You never, ever underestimate the opponent.’ That might be crucial for us down the stretch later on against a really good team and a more confident team, as well. So, I’m very proud of my boys tonight.”

Kevin Molino’s equalizer in the 67th minute helped the Lions (2-2-5, 11 points) salvage another match at home. A long ball down the right side of the pitch to City forward Cyle Larin found the Canadian international cut back to the middle of New York’s box, where he then slotted a ball to a streaking Molino. The match-tying score was set up by team captain Ricardo Kaká  who made his first appearance after missing two matches — who dragged the attention of two defenders middle as he set himself up parallel with the ball-handling Larin. When Molino flew in, it was virtually a one-on-one with Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.

Kevin Molino goal against NYRB (5-7-16)

“Definitely, I’m confident going into every game,” Molino said. “It has been a rough nine months for me, so I just needs to focus on the work that I have done in the past and continue doing it in the games.”

With a man-down situation less than a minute left in the four minutes of stoppage time added to the match, Orlando City (2-2-5, 11 points) almost saw some of the same stoppage-time magic that occurred in this season’s home-opening tie against Real Salt Lake.

Lions goalkeeper Joe Bendik boomed a free kick just outside of his box to left back Brek Shea, who broke free from the left side for a contested header that went just left of the post. Robles deflected the ensuing corner kick, which fell to Shea and eventually Larin. Neither could find an open shot, and the ball was eventually cleared, effectively ending the match.

Red Bulls (3-6-1, 10 points) forward Bradley Wright-Phillips scored New York’s goal in the 19th minute when Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan played an expertly-placed through ball between City defenders Seb Hines and David Mateos. The 31-year-old then slotted the ball low and left past Bendik.

Orlando visits Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, May 15, at 3:30 p.m., while the Red Bulls will host D.C. United on Friday, May 13, at 7 p.m.

Man of the match

Molino earns our “Man of the match” honors in tonight’s draw. The Trininad and Tobago international’s equalizing score was his fourth goal of the season, tying him for most goals on the team with Larin. In approximately 87 physical minutes, Molino drew six of the Red Bulls 18 fouls. Additionally, his combination attack with Kaká and Larin at the top aided his team to creating the necessary opportunities to at least extract a point from Friday’s match.

Higuita earns red card in game of ‘foul play’

The Lions finished with more cards awarded by one in Friday’s match as midfielder Cristian Higuita earned a red card in the 85th minute of the match. Friday’s match saw the Lions experience the most cards given out this season with nine. In a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire, both teams finished with seven cards total. Higuita will not play against Kansas City.

Collin returns to the City Beautiful

After being traded to the Red Bulls at the end of April, defender Aurélien Collin made his first-ever start in a Red Bulls uniform in a triumphant return to Orlando. It appeared from the start that Collin wanted to send a statement to his former team that only saw him play in two matches this season after being a perennial starter in the season before. After yielding the first yellow card of the match in the 18th minute, it was clear that imposing his physicality was Collin’s game plan.

“I thought [Collin] looked good,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said. “The yellow card’s not a yellow card. He doesn’t even touch [Molino] — Molino falls on him. But that means for the rest of the game, he has to be very cautious. And we know that a lot of his strengths are his aggressiveness and his desire and competitiveness. But I thought, actually, he contained himself and controlled his aggression in a good way in the second half and didn’t put himself in many dangerous positions.”

Throughout the match, it appeared Collin was set to lock down Larin. During idle play throughout most of the match, Larin could be seen with Collin’s arms draped around him. On a play in stoppage time during the first half, Collin pulled Larin to the ground, initially yielding a penalty kick before being overruled by an offside call by the sideline referee.

Aurelien Collin 1

New York Red Bulls defender Aurélien Collin stands at midfield with his team during the pre-game ceremonies before a match against Orlando City in Camping World Stadium on Friday, May 6, 2016. (Photo by Victor Ng / Orlando Soccer Journal)

Collin played a full 90 minutes and recorded two tackles.

Stats

Shots (on goal) Tackles Fouls Possession
Orlando City 12 (4) 13 16 50%
New York 5 (2) 32 18 50%

Starting XIs

Orlando City starting XI (4-2-3-1): Bendik, Shea, Hines, Mateos, Rafael Ramos; Darwin Cerén, Higuita; Antonio Nocerino, Kaká, Molino; Larin

New York Red Bulls starting XI (4-3-3): Robles; Sal Zizzo, Collin, Ronald Zubar, Kemar Lawrence; Sam, Felipe Martins, Dax McCarty; Sacha Kljestan, Mike Grella, Wright-Phillips

Photo courtesy of Orlando City SC communications.

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