There was a blow for NYCFC supporters before a ball was kicked with the news that James Sands looks set to miss the remainder of the MLS regular season with a fracture to his foot.

That injury meant that Alex Ring would slide back into his normal no.6 role at the base of midfield, with Ronald Matarrita moving up to take the left wing spot and Gudi Thórarinsson slotting in behind at left-back.

Gary Mackay-Steven and Jesus Medina also started in advanced positions behind Taty Castellanos who continued to lead the line for Head Coach Ronny Deila.

It was the second meeting between NYCFC and Orlando following the group stage meeting at ESPN Wide World of Sports at the MLS is Back bubble where Chris Mueller struck twice to give the Lions a 3-1 win.

Mueller and his Orlando team quickly set about replicating that victory and took the lead following an early spell of pressure on 18' when the afore-mentioned forward climbed highest to head home from a cross from the right wing, making it 1-0.

A strong reaction was required from the visitors on their Florida day trip and that's what they gave, fighting hard to get back into the match and to pin the hosts back into their defensive third.

Castellanos and Medina both forced saves from Brian Rowe on 24' and 26', but it was Keaton Parks who finally broke through with two minutes of the first half remaining. The move was deserving of a goal too, as Castellanos brilliantly controlled Medina's pass and slipped Parks through for the finish at the second time of asking. 

Level going in at the break, the Boys in Blue continued to dominate after the break and only a great goalkeeping performance from Brian Rowe denied City all three points.

The Orlando 'keeper came to his sides' rescue on numerous occasions in the second 45', making two stunning saves in two minutes on 63' and 64' - first denying Mackay-Steven's spectacular volley which looked destined for the roof of the net, before he saved a header from Castellanos from the subsequent set-piece.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi was introduced as a substitute on with 20 minutes to go and it was the Libyan who forced Rowe's best save of the night when he pulled the trigger on the turn to strike with his left foot shortly after coming on, but there was the Orlando no.23 again to palm away at full stretch.

In the remaining minutes, it was all NYCFC but they couldn't find a way past Rowe and had to be satisfied with a share of the spoils. 

Sezione: Focus / Data: Thu 15 October 2020 alle 14:00 / Source:
Autore: Stefano Bentivogli
See readings