It’s very close to the shot that you dream about as an athlete. The game’s winding down. There are seconds left to play. Suddenly the ball comes your way and within seconds you score the game-tying goal! I imagine that’s how exactly how Lion’s midfielder Kevin Molino felt as he booted in a perfectly placed pass from forward Cyle Larin to end the game in a tie. It was one of those games in which New York City fans were already on their way out of the stadium with peace of mind brewing in their heads from a sure-felt win. Alternatively, Orlando fans could barely fathom the pain of losing a very winnable away game. Fortunately, that turned out not to be the case. Molino put the team on his back and said, “Hold on boys, we’re not done yet!”
It started off in somewhat typical fashion for those who have watched Orlando all season – not a lot of scoring opportunities for Orlando City. On a chance that Orlando did have, Cyle Larin couldn’t help the ball squeeze its way past New York goalkeeper Andre Rawls after a well-timed head butt. New York certainly had their chances, but Orlando’s defense near the goal-line looked astounding for most of the first half. That is until New York’s Frèdèric Brillant decided to put an end to the scoring drought. There’s no “I” in team but in Brillant’s case, there should be. He was just that – brilliant – throughout the game for New York.
The start of the second half looked a lot like today’s weather here in Orlando: gloomy. Among the league’s scoring leaders – David Villa chipped in a shot that would have certainly made Larry Bird proud – a rainbow shot that was scored after Villa hurried his way passed Orlando on-lookers for a fast-break. As it looks like New York City FC is set to make a solid recovery from last week’s 7-0 loss, Orlando’s Julio Baptista decides to make his way into the scoring column. Now carry the one, bring down the next digit and place the first paragraph into this one and there is where you’ll have your thrilling solution to this problem. I use the word thrilling because I’m an Orlando City fan. If you’re a New York fan, grab your computer, type thesaurus.com in the url and look up the antonym to thrilling. That will lead you to the emotion felt among thousands of fans that left the stadium tonight. With last week’s tie verse top-seeded Philadelphia and this week’s thrilling tie verse New York, Orlando should find themselves quite fortunate to have the chips land where they did. Oh yeah. Did I mention that managed to pull of tonight’s win without their veteran leader in Kakà? He was called up by Brazil’s national team to represent them in the 2016 Copa America Centenario. That, along with a few injuries, put Orlando at uneven odds to pull off a game like they did.
Orlando will have an extended stay booked at the “Days Off Inn” as their next game won’t be played until June 18 where they have a home game versus The San Jose Earthquakes. Rest easy Orlando. We look forward to seeing you again in a couple of weeks.