Orlando City SC scored two second half goals to draw Columbus Crew SC 2-2.
“I think it’s about the mentality,” Crew SC Sporting director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said after the match. “Winning is about the mentality to compete on every single play and I didn’t see that tonight.”
Crew SC opened the match with one of the strongest halves of the season, creating numerous chances and firing ten shots on goal. In the 20th minute, Tony Tchani created and converted on one of the chances, dribbling past the Orlando City defense and blasting a shot past Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik to give Columbus the 1-0 lead.
Columbus would not stop there however and created their first multi-goal advantage since their last MLS win on May 28th. In the sixth minute of stoppage time in the first half, Mohammed Saeid found Ola Kamara on a through ball and the Norwegian striker was tripped up by a diving Bendik and drew a penalty. Kamara blasted his shot from the spot into the bottom right and gave Crew SC a 2-0 halftime lead.
The second half began and Crew SC continued to create chances.
“They were unlucky not to go up 3-0,” Orlando City SC Interim Head Coach Bobby Murphy said on Columbus’ early second half effort, highlighted by a narrow miss from Justin Meram.
The momentum shifted towards the Lions with the 60th minute substitution of Kaka, the last FIFA Ballon d’Or winner not named Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi.
“He’s an unbelievable player,” Murphy said on Kaka. “Having him on the field gives the other players a bit of confidence, he’s someone they know they can play through.”
Shortly following the Brazilian’s appearance, Orlando brought one back. In the 65th minute off a corner kick from Kaka, Kevin Molino punched a ball past Clark to make the score 2-1.
In the 70th minute, ten minutes following Kaka’s entrance and five minutes after the Lions’ opening goal, Orlando would find their equalizer, this time from 2015 MLS Rookie of the Year Cyle Larin. Working on the right side of the field against former Orlando City SC player Corey Ashe, Molino whipped a cross into the box and Larin rose above both Michael Parkhurst and Tyson Wahl to head the ball into the bottom left corner.
Crew SC would still create chances, especially following the substitution of Federico Higuain. Higuain’s appearance was his first since June 1st, and the Argentine midfielder fired off three shots and created a couple chances in his 20-minute shift.
Despite the spark Higuain created, Columbus could not find a winning goal and the game ended with the 2-2 score line, handing Columbus their fifth straight draw at home and their second straight blown lead.
“Winning is not an accident, it’s the work you put in and the commitment you have out on the field on every play, and that’s how you get victories,” Berhalter said. “And we’re going to play guys that show that.”
Ola Kamara believes he’s one of those players.
“I think I have shown in many games that I don’t give up. I’m always hunting so we can maybe get that winning goal. But I think everybody ran a lot today and tried to do everything defensively, but it wasn’t enough today.”
Orlando City SC moves to 4-11-5 and the Lions return to action against the New England Revolution on Sunday, July 31 at 7:30 pm. With the result, Columbus Crew SC sets a club record for most home draws in a season at six and moves to 3-10-7 on the year. The Black and Gold travel to Toronto to take on Toronto FC; that game will also take place on July 31 at 7:30 pm.