Orlando City SC (6-6-6, 24 points) played the entire second half with 10 men following a controversial call on Saturday night, withstanding a mounting attack from Real Salt Lake (5-6-8, 23 points) to secure a key point and strengthen their position in the Eastern Conference.
Before a record crowd of 20,956 at Rio Tinto Stadium, the Lions opened the spirited match with their typical attacking style of play, creating scoring opportunities right from the opening whistle. Despite both teams missing key players due to international duty, the match had its share of action.
Orlando opened the scoreline with a brilliant build-up of play between Pedro Ribeiro and Eric Avila, resulting in a well-timed pass to Kaká who slipped by the Salt Lake defensive line and lofted a shot over diving goalkeeper Jeff Attinella in the 5th minute. The home side would respond 23 minutes later when Sebastian Jaime headed a cross from Tony Beltran to even the match at 1-1.
The fixture – the first meeting between both clubs – would get heated at times, with 28 fouls between the two teams, including a controversial red card for team captain Kaká in the 45th minute. Despite playing a man down, the Lions defended well and capitalized on a few attacking opportunities to create problems for Salt Lake. In the end, City managed to leave Rio Tinto Stadium with a hard fought point.
“I thought it was a magnificent effort from the players after the send off,” said head coach Adrian Heath. “Ironically, we’ve had the best chances of the game in the second half. St. Ledger had a great chance but he put too much power on it. It was a great second half for the odds. We looked very disciplined, and with a good shape. I could not be prouder with the efforts.”
4’ Jaime fires a shot following a mad scramble inside the Orlando City penalty area. Goalkeeper Tally Hall as able to get down low to deny Real Salt Lake’s first scoring opportunity with a superb save.
5’ City responds with a counter attack as Pedro Ribeiro slots a ball through to Kaká, who gets in behind the defensive line and chips a great shot over Real goalkeeper Attinella for the Lions’ first goal of the match. 1-0 Orlando City.
8’ Rafael Ramos fires a cross that just misses a surging Ribeiro but is cleared for a corner kick. Carlos Rivas’ ensuing cross connects with defender Seb Hines, who heads the ball forcefully off the cross bar, narrowly missing City’s second goal.
28’ Sebastian Jaime heads a cross from defender Tony Beltran to the right of a diving Hall to even the score at 1-1.
31’ Real Salt Lake continues its attack as Gil attempts to slide a shot from distance past Hall but the Lions’ net minder is able to make the save low to his left.
44’ Real Salt Lake was awarded free kick from 30 yards directly in front of City’s goal. Morales fired the shot right into the wall and it was safely deflected away.
45’ Kaká receives a red card from referee Sorin Stoica for for a serious foul on Salt Lake’s Morales. Orlando is reduced to 10 players.
45 (+2) The referee blew the halftime whistle with the scoreline even at 1-1.
45’ Orlando City takes the field with 10 men, but continues to apply pressure into the second half through aggressive runs by Rivas.
51’ Real Salt Lake handball results in a free kick just outside the area. Rivas fires a low fast shot that just misses the goal wide right.
63’ Sean St. Ledger fires a header from the six yard line that is struck over the net by goalkeeper Attinella resulting in a corner kick. Rivas delivers the corner but Hines and Jaime collide going for the ball and it is cleared.
81’ Sebastian Saucedo enters the game, adding to Real Salt Lake’s attack as the home side ups the pressure in search of the go-ahead goal.
84’ Saucedo fires a shot from 30 yards away but Hall makes a marvelous save, parrying the ball off the far post to preserve the even scoreline.
88’ City’s defensive line continues to face a flurry of shots from a mounting attack by Real Salt Lake but is able to withstand the pressure.
90’ (+5) Amobi Okugo replaces Pedro Ribeiro as the Lions look to shore up coverage in stoppage time. The referee blows the final whistle and City preserves the 1-1 scoreline to take a hard-earned point back home.
Team 1 2 Final
Orlando City SC 1 0 1
Real Salt Lake 1 0 1
ORL – Kaka (Ribeiro) 5’
RSL – Jaime (Beltran) 28’
ORL – Higuita (Yellow) 38’ Foul
ORL – Kaka (Red) 45’ Serious Foul
ORL – Ramos (Yellow) 79’ Time Wasting
RSL – Mansally (Yellow) 89’ Foul
Orlando City SC – GK Tally Hall, D Luke Boden, Seb Hines, Sean St. Ledger, Rafael Ramos, M Lewis Neal, Cristian Higuita, Carlos Rivas, Eric Avila, Kaka, Pedro Ribeiro (Amobi Okugo 90’)
Real Salt Lake – GK Jeff Attinella, D Tony Beltran (Sebastian Saucedo 81’), Elias Vasquez, Demar Phillips (Abdoulie Mansally 51’), Aaron Maund, M Luis Gil, Javier Morales, Luke Mulholland, F Joao Plata, Olmes Garcia, Sebastian Jaime (Devon Sandoval 73’)
Time of Match: 10:00 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly Cloudy
July 4, 2015
The Lions’ next match will take place on Saturday, July 11, when they face FC Dallas at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
To purchase group or individual tickets, or to sign up for the 2016 Season Ticket waitlist, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com or call 855-ORL-CITY.