It started when Rafael Ramos was issued a straight red card from referee Ted Unkel in the 26th minute. Then it followed with Antonio Nocerino getting ejected in the 66th minute.
In a match that saw the visiting Chicago Fire committ 14 fouls to Orlando City’s eight, the Lions were left to play to a scoreless draw against the Fire on Sunday night in front of 24,469 in attendance at Orlando City Stadium.
“When you feel like everything is against you, it kind of rallies you in a way and unites you,” said Orlando midfielder Will Johnson. “So our group understood that. We worked on that at training… we were prepared well. Like I said, you feel united and the support from the fans was also pretty special. They understood the situation, and how big that point was going to be, and pushed us toward it.”
A referee pool reporter submitted questions to the officials for after the game, but per the referee liaison, they declined to comment on the two bookings that saw two Orlando City players leave the game early.
Ramos, who was one of the players sent-off early, made his first MLS appearance for Orlando City after suffering from constant hamstring injuries since preseason.
“I thought he was really coming into it. I was really looking forward to his performance tonight to see what he can offer us,” said Orlando City coach Jason Kreis. “It’s bitterly disappointed that he had a short night.”
Orlando City produced five shots, two of which were on target when Carlos Rivas sent a curling shot in the 23rd minute, forcing goalkeeper Matt Lampson to punch the ball out of the box. Cyle Larin’s shot in the 33rd minute proved to be a much-easier save for Lampson.
Kaka, who was named to Kreis’ 18-man roster, entered the game in the 59th minute for Rivas.
Orlando City (7-5-4, 24 points) take a week off before returning to U.S. Open Cup action at Orlando City when the Lions host NASL Miami FC in the fourth round on Wednesday, June 14.
Orlando City returns to MLS action at home against the Montreal Impact on Saturday, June 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Here are some additional notes:
Orlando City starting lineup: Bendik; Ramos, Spector, Pereira, PC; Nocerino, Higuita, Barnes, Johnson (c), Rivas, Larin.
Orlando City subs: Saunders; Sutter, Aja, MPG, Kaka, Gil, Carrasco.
(Photo Courtesy of Orlando City)
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