ORLANDO, FLA. – Coming from behind on four different occasions throughout the night, the Columbus Crew remained unbeaten in 2014 preseason play, completing a 4-4 draw on Wednesday evening at the 2014 Disney Pro Soccer Classic. The contest was the third and final match in group play, as the Black & Gold advance into the tournament's championship match on Saturday, March 1 as Group A victors. Gregg Berhalter's side is set to face reigning MLS Cup champion Sporting Kansas City in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic Final, with kickoff slated for 8:00 p.m. ET. Fans can catch all the action via ESPN 3.
Wednesday's contest proved to be the game of the tournament thus far, as the fans in attendance witnessed an eight-goal explosion, with the Crew refusing to concede defeat at every turn. Darwin Ceren kick-started Orlando City's attack, getting the soon-to-be MLS club on the board in the 30th minute. Just before the stroke of halftime Crew winger Justin Meram cut through Orlando's defense before getting the ball to frontline teammate Ryan Finley inside the area. The Notre Dame product slammed home the equalizer, sending the two sides into the break knotted at 1-1.
After Kevin Molino put Orlando ahead once more in the 52nd minute, substitute Ethan Finlay drew a penalty and converted the ensuing spot-kick in the 77th minute of play. The last ten minutes of action produced a frantic finish, with four goals being exchanged between the two teams, beginning with an 82nd minute strike from Adama Mbengue. Meram hit a screamer from the top of Orlando's area to pull things level, before Dennis Chin seemed to seal a Lions victory in the 89th minute.
However, it was Finlay who had the final word, as the Crew winger volleyed home the Black & Gold's fourth equalizer of the night. The 4-4 draw puts the Crew's 2014 overall preseason record at 3-0-1.
Columbus Crew 4 – Orlando City SC 4
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Venue: ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex (Kissimmee, Florida)
Weather: 64 degrees and rain
ORL – Darwin Ceren (Kevin Molino) 30’
CLB – Ryan Finley (Justin Meram) 43’
ORL – Kevin Molino (unassisted) 52’
CLB – Ethan Finlay (penalty) 77’
ORL – Adama Mbengue (Dennis Chin) 82’
CLB – Justin Meram (unassisted) 86’
ORL – Dennis Chin (unassisted) 89’
CLB – Ethan Finlay (unassisted) 90+’
CLB – Eric Gehrig (caution) 35’
Columbus Crew: Brad Stuver (Daniel Withrow 75’); Josh Williams (Chad Barson 64’), Patrick Slogic* (Kevan George 64’), Eric Gehrig, Tyson Wahl © (Ross Friedman 73’); Kinglsey “Fifi” Baiden, Agustin Viana; Dominic Oduro (Ethan Finlay 64’), Ben Speas (Matt Walker 64’), Justin Meram; Ryan Finley (Adam Bedell* 64’)
Substitutes not used: None
* Indicates non-rostered player
Orlando City SC: Miguel Gallardo (Carl Woszczynski 46’) ; Howard, Rob Valentino, Luke Boden, Trialist 1 (Jordan Cyrus 46'), Austin Da Luz, Kevin Molino; Yordany Alvarez; Darwin Ceren, James O'Connor, Corey Hertzog (Dennis Chin 46')
Substitutes not used: None