ORLANDO, Fla. - A new regular season record crowd of 8,932 saw Orlando City Soccer Club close out the 2012 USL PRO Regular Season with a 1-1 draw with the Dayton Dutch Lions. Both goals came late, with Dayton’s Daniel Holowaty netting the equalizer with just 30 seconds remaining in stoppage time.
The first half saw both rain and City shots pour down on Dayton, but the Lions were stopped left and right by USL PRO saves leader Matt Williams. Orlando dominated possession, dictating the run of play with pass after pass, but could not convert any of their 15 chances. Orlando’s best opportunity came in the 37th minute, when Ian Fuller’s diving header struck the cross bar.
Both sides had calls for penalties go wanting in the opening frame. Dayton’s claim came early on as Miguel Gallardo came off his line and slid to knock the ball away. His follow-through took out Gibson Bardsley, but the referee judged that Gallardo won the ball first. Late in the half, Jamie Watson was taken down by two Dutch Lions on a breakaway, but no call was given.
The second half played out much like the first, with Orlando dominating possession. Chances came early and often for City, but it wasn’t until the 85th minute that the Lions broke the deadlock. Kevin Molino, fresh off his 10th senior cap for Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, slalomed through the Dutch Lions defense and fired a shot to the far post. Williams appeared to have it covered, but Mettin Copier redirected the shot for an own goal and the apparent match winner. Matt Luzunaris appeared to seal it for Orlando in the 89th minute, but was judged offside.
Despite being outshot 26-6 at the time, Dayton continued to push for an equalizer. It came in somewhat controversial fashion with just 30 seconds left in stoppage time. Daniel Holowaty’s long effort appeared to be saved by Miguel Gallardo, but bounced just inside the line. Replays confirmed the call as correct. City mounted a final attack, but could not win back the lion’s share of the points.
Orlando City now awaits their playoff fate. Winning the regular season title gives the Lions a first round bye, so Orlando must wait until next weekend to learn their opponent. What is known is City will face either the fourth, fifth, or sixth seeds. Those seeds will be determined by the rest of this weekend’s matches.
Regardless of the opponent, the Lions’ opening playoff match will be played at the Citrus Bowl on August 31 at 7:30 p.m.