For one of the most crazed fan bases in all of Major League Soccer, Orlando City opens up the 2018 campaign with much promise and high expectations. The Lions were looking to erase the memories of a lowly 2017 season and begin 2018 with a victory in front of the home crowd.

Though the Lions were not able to pull off a win, Orlando City pulled to a 1-1 draw against D.C. United Saturday evening at Orlando City Stadium. It wouldn’t come without some dramatics, as the Lions needed an extra time goal at the end from Stefano Pinho to notch the equalizer.

The Lions will be at home again next weekend when they face Minnesota United FC (0-1-0), whom lost 3-2 to the San Jose Earthquakes. Orlando City opens up its road schedule on March 17 when they face New York City FC.

Possession was dominated by Orlando City throughout the match, as the Lions controlled for 59 percent of the contest compared to United’s 41. Shots by each team were right in the same ballpark, with D.C. United taking 14 shots (five on goal) and Orlando City attempting 13 (two on goal).

The visiting D.C. United got on the board first in the opening half when midfielder Yamil Asad, whom was acquired in a trade from Atlanta a couple weeks ago, got by Orlando City’s defense in the 32nd minute and scored past Lions’ goalkeeper Joe Bendik (four saves).

Orlando City (0-0-1) continued to have opportunities come its way throughout the match, but just couldn’t formulate a way to notch the season’s first goal. That is until the waning moments of the game.

As injury/extra time incurred and down 1-0, the situation looked bleak for the Lions in coming away with a draw. Orlando City defender Jonathan Spector ran up the right wing and crossed a beautiful pass over to Pinho, who put it in the back of the net past D.C. United goalkeeper David Ousted.

About The Author

Andy Villamarzo has covered high school and youth sports for the Tampa Bay Times and The Tampa Tribune as a correspondent since 2008. He is a native of Holiday, FL, who graduated from Gulf High School and studied at St. Petersburg College. He has covered various prep, collegiate and professional athletes throughout his writing career, including Josh Johnson (Jacksonville Jaguars), Patrick Schuster (Arizona Diamondbacks) and currently writes for other publications like The Suncoast News, Friday Night Football Magazine and TopDrawerSoccer.com.

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