Orlando City looked like they were down and out in their 2018 MLS regular season opener, but a second-half stoppage-time equalizer gave them a 1-1 draw against D.C. United at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday.
The game was an end-to-end, fast-paced, physical affair for a season opener, and while D.C. looked like they would hold on for a vital three points, Stefano Pinho came off the bench and scored an equalizer in the 93rd minute to give the home side a point.
But the visitors took the lead in the 32nd minute, when Yamil Asad's free kick from deep on the left flank flashed through traffic and beat Bendik. The situation got even rosier a few minutes before halftime, as Asad drew a foul from PC on a header, which after Video Review led to the Brazilian being sent off.
It looked as though D.C. would get out of Orlando with a win, even with the Lions putting them under pressure, but Pinho, making his MLS debut, notched the vital score in dramatic fashion.
- The Big Picture: Out of context, a point on the road for D.C. has to be solid, but the way in which they let a win over a 10-man side slip through their fingers has to be tough. For Orlando City, this result is going to feel like a win, especially considering both Video Review decisions are likely going to be hotly contested in Central Florida, and getting something from a game that seemed lost is sweet indeed.
- Moment of the Match: No question, it's the late equalizer. Orlando City had been knocking on the door for some time, but the unlikely combination of center back Jonathan Spector, false No. 9Justin Meram and Pinho, in his first MLS match playing the poacher, turned into a moment of magic.
- Man of the Match: Asad may be on a new team this season, but he picked up where he left off in MLS, with his good free-kick service resulting in a goal, drawing the foul for the red card, and being an active presence out wide all night. One game in, it looks like D.C.'s decision to pick up the Argentine was a good one.