Orlando City SC Survives Charlotte FC in 1-1 Draw

CHAROLTTE, NC – Orlando City and Charlotte FC played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw on Wednesday night at Bank of America Stadium, leaving fans on the edge of their seats until the final whistle. The evenly matched Eastern Conference sides displayed skillful gameplay and unwavering determination, resulting in a shared point allocation.

Aug 30, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Orlando City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese (1) is unable to stop the penalty kick in the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese emerged as the star of the first half, exhibiting his shot-stopping prowess with a remarkable save in the 37th minute. The crowd watched in awe as Gallese thwarted a point-blank shot, denying the hosts a crucial lead. As the teams trooped off at halftime, the scoreboard remained unblemished, a testament to both defensive solidity and the goalkeepers’ brilliance.

However, the game’s dynamics shifted dramatically in the second half. In the 81st minute, Charlotte FC was granted a penalty kick, and Enzo Copetti confidently stepped up to convert the opportunity into a goal, finally breaking the deadlock. The home crowd erupted in cheers as their team secured a late lead, setting the stage for a thrilling climax.

Orlando City, refusing to be subdued, fought back fiercely. In the 88th minute, the Lions managed to equalize, stunning the Charlotte faithful. Midfielder Martín Ojeda showcased his expertise in set pieces, delivering a pinpoint cross that navigated its way through the Charlotte defense and nestled into the back of the net. The dramatic equalizer sparked jubilation among the visiting supporters and completed a comeback that illustrated the Lions’ resilience.

Aug 30, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte FC midfielder Kamil Jóźwiak (7) and Orlando City defender Robin Jansson (6) fight for the ball in the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking after the match, Orlando City’s Head Coach Oscar Pareja commended his players for their performance.

“Very happy with the performance of the players, especially in the second half. I thought we played against a very good team and a team that has a model that at the beginning confuses you and we couldn’t stop them. That’s why I value the reaction that we had in that first half to create some options that probably should have taken us to lead the game at the end of the half. The second half was more controlled.”

Martín Ojeda’s goal proved crucial, marking his fifth of the 2023 season and proving once again his importance in Orlando City’s attacking lineup. The match also saw the return of Júnior Urso, who made his first start of the year, and Mauricio Pereyra, who celebrated his 125th appearance for the team across all competitions.

With the draw against Charlotte FC, Orlando City continued their road trip, gearing up for their next challenge against FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium. The Lions are set to take on FC Cincinnati on Saturday, September 2, with the match scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET. Soccer enthusiasts can catch the action live on MLS Season Pass via Apple TV, as both teams strive to make their mark in the ongoing MLS season.

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