Orlando City SC 2, Los Angeles Football Club 2 | 2019 MLS Match Recap
The first half began with each side nearly finding an opener within the first four minutes. LAFC squandered an additional chance in the 10th minute when Adrien Perez got past OCSC 'keeper Brian Rowe, only for Rowe to recover and snuff out Perez's attempted assist to Adama Diomande. But then Perez atoned less than two minutes later, converting a corner for the opener.
That would hold all of 30 seconds, though, as Orlando City took the resulting kickoff and equalized, with Cristian Higuita sending a through ball to Nani, who chipped over Tyler Miller to get his 10th goal of the season — his first in a league campaign in his storied career. Then, in the 20th minute, Ruan played in Benji Michel for the go-ahead goal. Despite LAFC maintaining a 70-30 possession advantage and 7-3 shot advantage in the half, they couldn't find the goal to erase the deficit by halftime.
Both teams valiantly looked for a second-half goal, but an apparent Adrien Perez goal was called offside in the 51st minute, Michel was ruled to have fouled Miller on a play where Orlando appeared to grab a two-goal lead, and sub Santiago Patino hit the post on another attempt to pad the Lions' lead. But then Rossi finally broke through on a neat give-and-go play with Diomande, collecting the return pass to shoot, netting this 15th of the year to make it 2-2. Neither team could find the winner despite five minutes of stoppage time to work with.
- 12' – LAFC – Adrian Perez | WATCH
- 13' – ORL – Nani | WATCH
- 20' – ORL – Benji Michel | WATCH
- 78' – LAFC – Diego Rossi | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: The draw keeps Orlando City #inthehunt, as their hashtag declares them to be, but a win would have allowed them to elbow past Montreal for 8th in the East. LAFC could have locked-up home-field advantage for the playoffs with the win (Spoiler alert: They're going to do that soon enough); instead, they've now gone three matches without a win for the first time this season. But they're also without Carlos Vela, so this is probably more a hiccup than a worrying trend.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Rossi's goal, as deflating as it was for everyone in purple, was a great play from a great player on a night when LAFC needed a transcendent moment.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Rossi gets this based on salvaging the draw and his Audi Player Index saying so, but both Lamine Sane and Ruan are deserving of accolades for their defensive games, making key stops (and in Ruan's case, a crucial assist) to hold LAFC to a draw.