Baptista, Larin lead Orlando City to 2-2 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps

Orlando City went three consecutive games without scoring a goal entering Saturday’s game at BC Place.

Playing in its best performance since the firing of longtime coach Adrian Heath, the goal drought finally ended.

Julio Baptista scored the opener, and Cyle Larin scored the equalizer as Orlando City finished with a 2-2 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at BC Place.

Baptista gave Orlando City the early lead after striking a the ball past Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted in the 13th minute. It was the Brazilian’s third goal in MLS.

After the Lions failed to clear the ball, Nicolas Mezquida leveled the score for Vancouver in the 36th minute when he headed-in the ball toward the bottom left corner. Masato Kudo gave the Whitecaps the lead before halftime after finishing a set-piece from Pedro Morales. 

But just as the Lions were able to score early in the first half, the same went for the second half. Larin recorded his team-leading ninth goal of the season when he equalized for Orlando City in the 49th minute when he headed a cross from Kevin Molino.

The visiting Lions could of taken the lead again when Baptista drew a penalty in the 60th minute, but failed to convert from the spot after striking the ball high over the crossbar.

Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik finished with two saves, but proved to be crucial ones. The former TFC stopper denied a close-range chance from Kudo moments after Baptista failed to convert a penalty.

Saturday’s result was Orlando’s 10th draw of the season, a league high. The Lions haven’t won on the road since their 1-0 victory over New York City FC earlier this season on March 18 at Yankee Stadium.

On paper, The Lions (4-5-10, 22 points) dominated 53 percent of possession. The Whitecaps (8-8-5, 29 points), however, outshot the Lions 14-13.

Orlando City captain Ricardo Kaka (calf) did not travel with the team.

Cristian Higuita and Antonio Nocerino were the used substitutes for Orlando, entering for Baptista and Hadji Barry, respectively in the 79th and 84th minute.

Orlando City visits the Columbus Crew on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The Lions are back at Camping World Stadium on Sunday, July 31 against the New England Revolution.

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