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Orlando City earns 2-2 draw with Philadelphia Union

Sep 1, 2018; Orlando, FL, USA; Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake (18) tackles Orlando City SC defender Scott Sutter (21) for the ball during the first half at Orlando City Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City is still searching for the second win of the James O’Connor area.

The Lions instead settled for their second draw under their new coach and ended the Philadelphia Union’s winning streak in league matches at four.

Orlando City earned a 2-2 draw with the Union Saturday night thanks to a late goal from right back Scott Sutter.

It was the second time in the last four matches Sutter has scored a goal in stoppage time to salvage a draw for Orlando City. After previous matches, Sutter said the club has put a lot into games and it’s been disheartening to get so little back. 

He wasn’t much happier on Saturday, despite the draw. Orlando City (7-16-3, 24 points) has just one win in its last 17 games. 

“It’s not enough,” Sutter said, echoing his statement from after a 2-1 loss to Atlanta United.

“Football’s only fun if you win. If you play and if you win. If you don’t play you’re not happy. If you don’t win you’re not happy. We’re not winning. I haven’t gone to The Wall after the game and raised my hands like we won like we did at the beginning of the season and that hurts. That’s what we’re here for. That’s what we’re training for every day. At the moment, it’s just disappointing.” 

Sutter leveled the match in the 91st minute after it looked like Philadelphia was going to steal all three points from the Lions. In the 88th minute, Union winger Fafá Picault’s shot from distance bounced off centerback Shane O’Neill and into the back of the net to give Philadelphia a 2-1 advantage late and – at least for a moment – silence the announced home crowd of 22,912.

The noise picked up in the form of boos for the celebrating Picault, and Orlando City went back to work.

Attacking midfielder Josue Colmán back-heeled a ball to Sutter on the right side of the penalty area, and Sutter beat Union goalkeeper Andre Blake to level the match at two goals apiece in the 90th minute.

It was a late surge by Orlando City, which seemed to wilt in the second half until attacking subs Chris Mueller and Stéfano Pinho entered the match. Four of Orlando City’s seven second-half shots came after Mueller and Pinho came on. Colmán was subbed on in the 56th minute.

“I think if you look through the course of the season, maybe it’s the start of the second half or in the second half, I think it’s something that we’re aware of,” O’Connor said. “I think it’s very difficult to try to fix something like that mid-season. I think the energy levels need to be better, need to be higher.

“The role of the substitute is really important. You need a sub to come in and impact the game.” 

For the first time since Orlando City’s 4-3 loss to the L.A. Galaxy on July 29, the Lions opened the scoring.

Midfielder Will Johnson earned a free kick just outside the penalty area for Orlando City after some solid passing on the right side of the penalty area between him and Sutter. Midfielder Yoshimar Yotún curled in the free kick and striker Dom Dwyer got his head on it, sending it by Blake in the ninth minute.

“It’s always nice to get an early goal, get ourselves a lead and play our way into the game,” Dwyer said. 

The assist was Yotún’s 10 of the season, which ties him with Brazilian legend Kaká for most in a single season for Orlando City.

“I think when you look a the start of the game, I thought we started very brightly,” O’Connor said.

The Union answered in the in the 32nd minute. Forward Cory Burke found the back of the net for the third time in his past four matches after he headed on a ball from midfielder Bořek Dočkal. The goal gave Dočkal his 14th assist of the season.

“I think today the movement wasn’t quite there,” Sutter said. “I think there wasn’t enough energy throughout the team. I think on [the Union’s] part, as well, but they had the excuse they played mid-week. It just didn’t feel like we were that energetic tonight. I think that should have been better. That’s something that definitely we need to address.” 

Orlando City hasn’t won a match since beating Toronto FC on July 14, but the Lions have earned a point in two of their past four matches.

The Lions play their next two matches on the road, first traveling to Children’s Mercy Park to face Sporting Kansas City on September 8.

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