Orlando City SC clawed back a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with FC Cincinnati on Sunday evening at Nippert Stadium, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to keep their Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs hopes alive.
Elsewhere, a 2-0 win for the New England Revolution over New York City FC ensured the No. 7 spot in the East went to Bruce Arena's side. Now, both teams now head into Decision Day presented by AT&T next weekend with just pride to play for.
The breakthrough came in the 40th minute via Allan Cruz, as the Young Designated Player one-timed home his seventh goal of the year. His right-footed finish was set up by Emmanuel Ledesma, who latched onto a clipped ball by Joe Gyau.
While it looked like Cincinnati would claim all three points in the final home match of their expansion season, Orlando striker Benji Michel had other ideas in the 91st minute. He laced home a ball that fellow attacker Dom Dwyer kept in play.
Clear-cut chances were hard to come by, though the home side nearly opened the scoring in the 36th minute. Roland Lamah’s left-footed curler was deflected onto the crossbar by Orlando goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Cincinnati were minutes from ending their expansion season home slate with three points, but they couldn’t pitch the shutout. That resulted in 75 goals conceded, a single-season record in MLS, and Ron Jans’ side still has one more game to play. For Orlando, it’s now five straight playoff-less seasons since entering the league in 2015. The more things change down in Florida, the more they seem to stay the same.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: On a day that lacked much attacking oomph, we’ll go with Benji Michel’s late equalizer. It encompassed the sputtering hope of Cincinnati’s first MLS campaign, all while showing Orlando can create promising chances. It’s the collective, complete performances that often proved lacking for James O'Connor's team.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Allan Cruz. His opening goal earmarked a promising season for the Costa Rican personally, and he chipped in with two-way, industrious work across the pitch.