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Orlando City Held to Scoreless Draw in Chicago After VAR Controversy

CHICAGO, Ill. (FNN SPORTS) — Orlando City endured a resilient Chicago Fire as they made it two clean sheets in two games. Orlando’s first away game of the season was no walk in Millennium Park, however. Ezra Hendrickson’s men played a physical 90 minutes that resulted in 35 fouls and a slew of yellow cards. While the VAR controversy was obviously the unintended highlight of the game, there were more than a few storylines to be excited about as Orlando City continue to sharpen their tools during the regular season.

 

Windy City Blues

With gusts of 25 mph during the game and less than ideal conditions on the pitch, Orlando City had their work cut out for them as they faced the Chicago Fire for their first road game of the season. Despite the setbacks, there were more than a few positives to draw looking at the Lions’ Starting XI.

Setting aside the fracas that the disallowed goal caused, Orlando City still managed to dominate the second half of the game. Orlando’s dominance in pace and cardio over 90 minutes has not been a strength of theirs in years past. This attribute undoubtedly comes from the work put in during the offseason. Orlando City has an abundance of skill and class within their ranks when all their players are healthy.

Continuing to switch on and off between Kara and Pato for future games will ensure players can get rest while still providing worth to the first team. Although Head Coach Oscar Pareja was obviously frustrated with the decisions called in that game, he took time to give credit to his developing team as they continue to fine-tune their identity on the pitch.

 

Takeaways from Chicago

César Araújo is showing himself as one of the best bargain transfers of the 2022 offseason. Although the fanfare and attention have mostly been about Facundo Torres, Araújo has been steadily winning fans over with his fearless displays of heart and grit after 180 minutes of play.

For a 20-year-old to go toe-to-toe against veterans like Wanyama and Shaqiri in successive games shows a high level of pedigree from the Uruguayan. Not only that, but he has seemingly won over the locker room too. Junior Urso commented after the game that players like Araújo and Torres give a lot of dynamism to their team.

Urso also deserves plaudits for his efforts the last two games. The Brazilian midfielder made it clear he is trying to become more of a threat in front of goal this year after scoring four during the regular season in 2021. He’s off to a blazing start, as he turned last week’s match against CF Montreal on its head as soon as he subbed on.

The Brazilian continues to be the locomotive for an Orlando side that is still meshing together. His ability to win balls in the open field is his best asset, continually turning quick defense into useful offense.

Orlando City’s next game will be back home as they take on FC Cincinnati. The Ohio-based team has yet to score in their first two regular season games thus far; which bodes well for Pedro Gallese as he looks to make it three clean sheets in three games.

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