Stoppage goals give Orlando City tie with Real Salt Lake
Mar. 06, 2016
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The season-opening match for Orlando City and Real Salt Lake lasted 94 minutes and the Lions needed every second of that to get a 2-2 tie.
Orlando City got goals from Cyle Larin and Adrian Winter in the final 30 seconds of stoppage time to steal a tie out of game that nearly everyone in the crowd of 60,147 was sure had long since been decided.
Larin re-directed a crossing pass from Brek Shea for Orlando City's first goal in the 94th minute. Just 30 seconds later, Winter ran down a free ball in the 18-yard box and blasted the ball past stunned Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando to tie the game.
"This is a crazy emotion right now," Orlando City coach Adrian Heath said. "I thought this was a game where we'd keep battling and battling and never get in the door and now, it actually feels like we won the game."
Real Salt Lake's Joao Plata converted a penalty kick in the first half and poked home a cross from Tony Beltran in the second half to give RSL what seemed like an insurmountable 2-0 lead.
However, Salt Lake was the more fatigued side at the end, giving up several good chances in the final minutes before Orlando City finally scored.
"I can't recall ever being in a game like this," Real Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar said. "Things happen fast and you have to be able to finish, but in the last six minutes, we just became fatigued, undisciplined, not recognizing the dangers and we paid the price."
Both teams played the second half a man down after Salt Lake's Demar Phillips got his second yellow card in the 20th minute and Orlando City midfielder Darwin Ceren was red-carded a minute before halftime.
Orlando City also was without its best player, Brazilian midfielder Kaka, who missed the game with a thigh injury.
Salt Lake was nearly perfect until stoppage time. The visitors counter-attacked effectively throughout the game, using quick, sharp passing to open holes in Orlando City's defense. Yura Movsisyan was tripped up in the penalty box in the 26th minute and awarded a penalty kick that Plata converted.
In the 66th minute, Beltran drove a line drive cross through the Orlando defense and an unattended Plata had an easy time poking it into an open net for a 2-0 lead.
Real's defense, meanwhile, was under siege all game, but kept Orlando scoreless until Shea slid a perfect pass in front of Larin and the MLS Rookie of the Year in 2015 knocked it home.
On the very next possession, Larin pushed the ball off his thigh directly to Winter, who hammered it home to tie the score on what was the final play of the game.
"I've never been part of anything like that in front of 60,000 fans," Larin said. "The crowd was in it from the first minute until the last minute. This was a moment to remember."