For once it was New York Red Bulls who were able to score late and thwart Orlando City in a 1-1 draw.
In second-half stoppage time, Brian White scored a quick turnaround shot was able to defeat Brian Rowe to the back post and the home side celebrated the big moment as if it were a victory against the high-flying Orlando team undefeated in two months.
After Jared Stroud took the corner kick, Orlando City cleared it away, but Jason Pendant sent the ball back into the scrum towards White who, settled it and did the rest. You could tell this was a big relief for the home team.
“I’m really proud of the team’s performance. I think it was a deserved result and you could even argue that we deserved three points” said captain Sean Davis.“I think the group showed a lot of resolve, a lot of character and that’s really important this time of the year. I think it was a good way to close out a strong week so I think we’re moving in the right direction. There’s still things that we can improve but again to see that character from the group is really important this time of year.”
Orlando City got on the scoresheet with a penalty that was converted by Nani in the 56th minute. Amro Tarek stood still as Daryl Dike dribbled inside the Red Bulls area and got tripped down. Tarek quickly stuck out his left leg and that was enough for the referee to blow his whistle and point to the spot.
But if you look at this performance over all, the Red Bulls never switched off for most of the game. Ryan Meara made several good saves, he also got help from Jared Stroud when the back line got stretched tracking back to defend.
Interim head coach Bradley Carnell knew what was in store for his side. But he was happy that his side showed plenty of fight against one of the contenders for MLS Cup.
“We knew a couple of weeks ago what a tough game this was, and what a tough game it could potentially be” said Carnell. “We knew exactly what to expect from Orlando on the day, and they didn’t waver, they didn’t differ. I thought our guys had a grip on the game and a control of the game in the first half where, yeah, it’s a pretty even-keel type of a game, no real chances for anybody there.”
“As we open up the second half, yeah listen, Dike is tough customer, and we just make a foul at the wrong time, in the wrong area and we get punished for it. But what I felt with the guys is an energy, it’s been brewing in the group and I think Wednesday is a testament to that, how we can rally on and come back in games, and you saw it again tonight.”
“Started taking a stranglehold on the game, started dominating in possession, started dominating the movements on and off the ball, and then start earning a lot of real good chances. Credit to the boys it was a game I never felt that we were out of control of, I thought we got what we deserved in terms of fighting back and getting a point.”