Columbus Crew SC and Orlando City SC played to a 2-2 draw Saturday in front of a sold-out crowd of 20,034 at MAPFRE Stadium.
Goals from Tony Tchani and Ola Kamara — his 10th in 14 games — sealed a point for the Black & Gold at home. The result extends the club’s regular-season unbeaten streak at home to 10 matches. Saturday also marked the return of Federico Higuain, who made his first appearance since June 1.
Crew SC possessed the tempo and scoring chances early in the first 45, and in the 20th minute, took control and the lead. After a give-and-go combination with Justin Meram, Tchani used some swift footwork in a tight area and found himself 1-on-1 with Orlando goalkeeper Joe Bendik. The midfielder collected himself, and buried a low shot into the back of the net to open his season scoring account and give his side the 1-0 advantage.
Kamara came close to scoring on multiple occasions following the Tchani goal, and in stoppage time of the half, the most efficient striker in MLS added to his season tally. A through ball from Mohammed Saied found a streaking Kamara, who was taken down in the Lions’ penalty area by Bendik and awarded a penalty. The forward stepped up to the spot, and perfectly placed his shot past the cautioned goalkeeper to double the Black & Gold's lead heading into halftime.
Out of the dressing rooms, Crew SC looked to hold the second half lead, but the Lions had other plans. In the 65th minute, a curling corner from substitute Kaka bounced around in a cluster of bodies in the Columbus penalty area, eventually rolling into the goal to cut into the Black & Gold's advantage. Five minutes later, Orlando City forward Cyle Larin equalized with a header after a high cross from Kevin Molino.
The final 20 minutes of the match saw both clubs with opportunities to claim all three points, as well as some fantastic play from Black & Gold goalkeeper Steve Clark. Crew SC’s best chance came in the 84th and 90thminute, when rockets off the feet of Kamara and Higuain were pushed away by the fingertips of Bendik. However, as the final whistle sounded, the Black & Gold secured one point in the final match of a three game home stand.
Crew SC is back in action next Sunday, when it travels to BMO Field to take on Toronto FC in the third and final leg of the 2016 Trillium Cup. Kickoff in Toronto is set for 7:30 p.m.