BEAVERCREEK, Ohio - Orlando City SC (11-2-5, 38 points) played to a 3-3 draw against the Dayton Dutch Lions (7-4-6, 27 points) Sunday night at Beavercreek High School Stadium in Beavercreek, Ohio. Sporting Kansas City (Major League Soccer) loanee and MLS 2011 Rookie of the Year C.J. Sapong scored his first goal for the Lions in the second half to put the Lions up 3-2, but Orlando was unable to hold off a late Dayton rally to end the match at 3-3.
Orlando notched the first score of the match in the 24th minute, with Forward Dennis Chin knocking in a loose ball in front of Dayton Goalkeeper Matthew Williams to give the Lions a 1-0 advantage. After the ball was previously scooped up by Williams, Chin refused to give up on the play- knocking in fumbled possession by the goalkeeper for the early lead.
The Dutch Lions responded later on in the first half, with Dayton Midfielder Shintaro Harada equalizing in the 35th minute of play. After a pass in by the Dutch Lions, an unlucky rebound found Harada, who blasted his attempt past Sporting Kansas City loanee and Goalkeeper Jon Kempin for the goal.
Orlando wasn’t done with scoring in the first half, with a well played give-and-go between James O’Connor and loanee C.J. Sapong resulting in the Lions’ second goal of the evening. After receiving a pass in the midfield, O’Connor made a run on the left side of the pitch, finding Sapong in the heart of the Dutch Lions defense. Sapong immediately fed it back to O’Connor behind the Dayton backline, with the midfielder converting for the 2-1 lead.
Dayton’s Shintaro Harada, who was shown a yellow card for a tactical foul in the 42nd minute, was given his second at the start of the second half for the Dutch Lions after the same type of professional takedown – putting the home side down to a disadvantage of 10 men for the rest of the match.
Despite the man down, Dayton equalized off of a penalty kick in the 59th minute. A handball was called on the Orlando backline inside the 18-yard box, awarding the penalty opportunity. Dutch Lion Joel DeLass took the opportunity in the 57th minute, with it being called back due to early movement on the home team side. DeLass calmly converted the second attempt a minute later, tying the match at 2-2.
The Lions answered with a penalty conversion of their own, with Sapong scoring his first goal for Orlando in the 66th minute. Dutch Lion Goalkeeper Williams fumbled a long ball played in, pushing off Sapong as the forward attempted to take away possession. The 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year slotted it past Williams, giving Orlando the 3-2 advantage.
Dayton’s final goal occurred in the 89th minute, with a well-played volley from substitute Brandon Swartzendruber beating Kempin in the upper right hand corner to tie the match at 3-3. Despite a few late chances by Orlando, the match ended at the same 3-3 scoreline.
Orlando continues play on the road this Wednesday, July 17, against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium. The two squads have yet to meet in 2013, with the Lions holding a 2-0-2 record all time against the Riverhounds. The match is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. EST. For more information on the upcoming away game in Pittsburgh and Orlando’s next home game on Saturday, July 20, visit OrlandoCitySoccer.com.