Orlando City’s Resiliency Earns 2-2 Come Back Draw

Orlando City (3-3-7, 16 points) fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against New York City FC (4-4-6, 18 points). The draw was the Lion’s fifth 2-2 draw this season, but this one felt more like one point earned rather than two points lost.

NYCFC was the stronger team for much of the first half and most of regulation for that matter and they got their reward right before halftime when an RJ Allen cross was smashed in via the head of Frederic Brillant.

NYC added on to their lead midway through the second half with a world class goal that everyone thought sealed the result for the powder blue team. Midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo picked out a streaking David Villa who took one touch and chipped Joe Bendik with his second.

Just three minutes later it looked like the result was really in the bag for NYCFC when they were awarded a penalty for a Seb Hines handball in the box, but the often clinical Villa slipped on the turf in his run up to the ball and sent the shot into stands.

The penalty miss spurred Orlando City on and just two minutes later, 59th minute substitute, Julio Baptista did well to turn in the box and force a shot off that was deflected into the goal past a diving Josh Saunders. The goal was “La Bestia’s” first in purple.

After the goal NYCFC assumed possession and Orlando City didn’t create much of anything…until the 94th minute that is. Carlos Rivas received the ball well after the minimum three minutes of stoppage time, and sent in a desperate curling cross from the left flank. The ball floated over everyone. Everyone except for Cyle Larin who was waiting at the back post to head the ball back toward the penalty spot, where Kevin Molino threw his head in front of a lethal Baptista bicycle kick attempt and headed the ball off the underside of the crossbar to draw the match level at the death.

Only one MLS midfielder, Ignacio Piatti with eight, has more goals than Molino’s six so far this season.

The Lions welcome a three week break for their battered squad. Their next game isn’t until June 18th, when they host the San Jose Earthquakes.

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