Orlando City and New York City FC played to a 1-1 draw on Saturday at Exploria Stadium as in-form attackers Nani and Valentin Castellanos once again got on the scoresheet.

The result puts NYCFC top of the Eastern Conference with seven points from their four games, with Orlando just one point back.

In their first meeting since last year's dramatic playoff encounter won by Orlando after a memorable penalty shootout, there was little between the teams in the first half. One of New York City's best chances of the first half came from Andres Jasson's eighth minute shot that was saved.

Orlando improved as play returned for the second half, and truly started to command the match. The hosts were rewarded for their forward-thinking efforts in the 52nd minute, when Nani scored his third goal in as many games. Mauricio Pereyra received the ball on the edge of the penalty area, noticing that Nani was making a run behind him. Nani then made his way to the edge of the penalty area and the took the shot from there, sending the ball arrowing into the back of the net.

Orlando came close to another in the 61st minute, when Tesho Akindele's shot from close range was deflected by Maxime Chanot for a corner kick.

That momentum came to a halt in the 75th minute, when Joao Moutinho committed a clumsy foul against Ismael Tajouri-Shradi and conceded a penalty. Castellanos converted from the spot, becoming one of only five MLS players in history to open a season with four goals in four games.

In a wide-open final 10 minutes, with both sides searched for a go-ahead goal. New York City had a little more life after getting an equalizer, and Castellanos got close to his fifth goal this season when an 86th minute opportunity went just wide of the goal, and Medina's opportunity in the dying seconds was saved. Despite a desperate search for a goal from both sides, they ended the match level.

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Goals

  • 52' - ORL - Nani | WATCH
  • 77' - NYC - Valentin Castellanos (PK) | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: It was not a perfect night for either side, but both showed promise with stretches of dominance. A number of attacking players stood out, from Nani and Ruan, before his halftime substitution, for the hosts and Castellanos and Medina for the visitors.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: A theme of the 2021 MLS season has been scoring goals worth watching on repeat, and Nani added another to the collection with the game's opening goal.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Nani continued his strong start to the MLS season on Saturday, scoring a goal and being Orlando's main source of forward play in a game where they had 11 shots.

Next Up

  • ORL: Sunday, May 16 at D.C. United | 8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ | 2021 regular season
  • NYC: Saturday, May 15 vs. Toronto FC | 1 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ | 2021 regular season

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