Lions draw Sporting Kansas City in home game thriller


Giles Barnes came on as a late substitute and was effective at wearing down Graham Zusi and the Sporting Kansas City defense (photo credit: Mercedes Cabrera)

The Orlando City Lions hosted Sporting Kansas City in a 2-2 draw. Latif Blessing’s two goals helped to snap the Lions winning streak at home. This is the first time the Lions have not earned three points at home this season.

SKC drew first blood rather quickly in the 9th minute of play. Gerso Fernandes raced into the 18-yard box past Lion defenders before delivering a low cross. Latif Blessing made a run that placed him in the right place at the right time to tap a loose ball in the net after Joe Bendik denied a shot from SKC captain Matt Besler. Lion dynamic duo Carlos Rivas and Cyle Larin connected in the 16th for a retaliation goal. From just outside the penalty box, Rivas showcased his strong left foot by delivering a perfectly placed cross to the foot of Larin. Lion veteran and man of the match Kaká made SKC pay for allowing him to have too much space. Trapping the ball with his chest after a cross, Kaká finessed a shot into the bottom right corner of the net. Not ready to concede defeat, Latif blessing in the 74th, cleaned up another goal off of a deflection from a Bendik save to tie the game.

“I have to say at the end of the day I think a draw was a fair result and I’m pleased to take a point. Our objective is clearly always going to be to have three points, to go after three points at home, but sometimes we will have to settle for one” stated Lion coach Jason Kreis. Cyle Larin added “I think Kansas City is a really good team. We went out there and did what we could do to at least get points”.

Earning points will continue to be important for the Lions. The match resulting in a draw has the Lions tied for second with Columbus Crew SC in the Eastern Conference of MLS standings. “I think we have to improve on the road but I think we’ll get some points in San Jose, and get better from there” stated Cyle Larin while looking forward to next week’s away match against the San Jose Earthquakes. The Earthquakes are in fifth place in the Western Conference and will have to be well prepared to earn points over the thriving Lions.



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