Orlando City rescued a dramatic late point against D.C. United despite playing a large part of the game with 10-men.
The game was played in such a fashion that you could have mistaken it for a derby such as Boca Juniors and River Plate. There was late challenges, aggression and even a red card.
In the 19th minute of the match, D.C. United were awarded a penalty after the referee opted to look at Video Review before noticing Darren Mattocks’ cross hit Orlando’s Will Johnson on the arm. It was a harsh decision to give as Johnson’s arms weren’t in a unnatural position.
Orlando may have felt that justice was done when Mattocks’ penalty was saved by Joe Bendik who displayed unbelievable levels of athleticism to keep the ball out of his net.
United did eventually find a way through when they opened the scoring on the 32nd minute. Yamil Asad curled a free kick into the penalty area and the ball avoided every single body before finding the back of the net. (The ball was put into the area where the keeper doesn’t know whether to come for it or stay put on the goal-line)
Five minutes before the half-time interval, Orlando City were reduced to 10-men, when Victor ‘PC’ Giro was adjudged to have put an elbow on Asad after the referee consulted the Video Review.
The second half wasn’t as entertaining as the first as D.C.United began to sit back as they grew more confident that they could see the game out and take all three points back to the capital.
In the 93rd minute, Orlando captain Jonathan Spector galloped forward towards the byline before pulling the ball back to Stefano Pinho who fired the late equaliser and sent the Orlando City fans into raptures.
D.C. United will have been disappointed not to secure the victory, but ultimately, it was the defensive mindset in the second half that cost them.