Orlando, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Orlando City SC will try to extend its unbeaten streak to three matches on Saturday when the expansion club welcomes East rivals Columbus Crew SC to the Citrus Bowl.
Orlando comes into the match with only one win in front of the home fans in six opportunities, but the club is only two weeks removed from its best performance of the season, a dominating 4-0 thrashing of defending champions the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 17.
Last time out, the Lions headed across the country to Levi's Stadium to face the San Jose Earthquakes and left northern California with a point after battling to a 1-1 draw.
Both teams struggled for chances and possession in the first half, but things opened up in a big way when referee Allen Chapmen blew his whistle to start the second 45 minutes.
Six minutes into the second half, Orlando went down to 10 men when Chapman issued a straight red card to defender Brek Shea for a vicious two-footed challenge.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, the Lions struck first when rookie forward Cyle Larin was clattered in the box by San Jose goalkeeper David Bingham, resulting in a penalty kick.
Kaka stepped up and made no mistake in the 64th minute, blasting his spot kick into the top left corner, leaving Bingham with no chance.
But the Lions were unable to hold the lead as Chris Wondolowski calmly slotted home a penalty kick four minutes later for his 100th career goal in Major League Soccer.
The fourth official's board showed three minutes of added time, but neither side could conjure a winner and were forced to settle for a share of the spoils.
"I just thought we had a little bit more to give and we could've taken the initiative and taken the lead," said OCSC head coach Adrian Heath. "To play most of the second half with 10 men, you have to be pleased with a point. But at halftime, I was disappointed that we didn't take the initiative a little bit more, and I thought if we had stayed with 11 men we would've gotten something more than a point."
Columbus, meanwhile, is looking for a three-point effort after battling the Chicago Fire to a 2-2 draw at home last week.
Kei Kamara netted his third brace of the season, starting the scoring for Columbus after just eight minutes.
Justin Meram started the sequence with a quick turn near the top of the box, slipping a pass through the Chicago defense to a darting Ethan Finlay, who put a ball directly to the foot of the waiting Kamara. The forward tapped it past helpless goalkeeper Jon Busch.
Kamara then finished his brace ten minutes into the second half, but it seemed to spark Chicago to life as the Fire responded minutes later when David Accam scored when his header beat Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark to cut the lead to 2-1 in the 58th minute.
Defender Eric Gehrig bagged the equalizer deep in stoppage time to deny his former club all three points.
"I think the first goal, to concede that, was sloppy. I think it was uncharacteristic of our team to give up a goal like that," said Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter. "It virtually came out of nothing; a deflection and we weren't tight enough in the box. Their player heads it in and 2-1 gave them a little bit of life. If I'm disappointed in one thing with this group it's that we didn't score the third goal, because it was there. It was there for the taking and we didn't get it done."