New York City Football Club earned a valuable point on the road against Orlando City SC with an excellent late fightback at Exploria Stadium. A birthday goal for Gabe Segal – his first for the Club – snatched a precious draw for the Boys in Blue with a minute of normal time left on the clock, ensuring Nick Cushing’s side complete a five-game road stretch on a positive note.
NYCFC headed to Florida for our fourth game in 11 days, looking to return to winning ways following a tough stretch on our travels. Head Coach Cushing made one change to the side that lined up in Saturday’s Hudson River Derby, as Matías Pellegrini replaced Talles Magno in the starting XI.
Level on points heading into the contest, the two sides had recorded mixed starts to the campaign, and were evenly-matched in the 21 previous meetings. The Boys in Blue had not beaten Orlando away from home since July 2018, but had emerged victorious in the last encounter with a 2-1 triumph.
The opening 45 of this encounter proved typically tightly-contested with possession shared equally, though the City Boys just shaded chances created – but it was the hosts who led at the break, thanks to an early breakthrough.
A nightmare start for the visitors saw the deadlock broken on seven minutes. Orlando unlocked the City defense down the left side, as Gastón González collected Robin Jansson’s lofted crossfield pass, playing a neat one-two with Facundo Torres, before crossing to the near post for Kara to nod in.
Pellegrini was then forced off through injury in a frustrating opening for the Boys in Blue.
Battling the humidity, Cushing’s side responded well, growing in confidence with spells of possession, probing for an opening.
Substitute Talles Magno and Gabriel Pereira tested Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese, who was equal to both strikes with deflections taking the sting out of the shots.
At the other end, Maxime Chanot produced a superb challenge to thwart Iván Angulo, ensuring NYCFC headed into the break just a goal behind.
City pressed for a leveler in the second period with Cushing introducing Segal, and then Mitja Ilenič and Andres Jasson, to boost the attacking threat.
The Boys in Blue went close two minutes after the restart, as Gallese denied Chanot, who headed Santiago Rodríguez’s delivery goalward, before Segal skewed off-target.
Heeding the warning, Orlando sought to give themselves a two-goal cushion….