The good, the bad and the ugly. That's the way Orlando City's opening match to D.C. United could be summed up. Coming off an offseason that saw 13 new players brought into the fold for manager Jason Kreis' side, Orlando City refused to lie down, pulling a much-needed point out of their back pocket in stoppage time.

Now you may be thinking, well one point is better than none, and while you'd be correct, the bane of existence for last seasons' Lions were ties. In 34 contests in 2017, Orlando City tied nine times, winning 10 games and losing 15 for a 10th place finish in MLS' Eastern Conference.

The only club with a worse record in the East? You guessed it, D.C. United at 9-5-20.

As if the pressure wasn't palpable enough for Orlando City coming into Saturday night, they were without a number of essential pieces due to either injury or suspension, including playmaker Sacha Kljestan, primary scoring threat Dom Dwyer, holding midfielder Uri Rossell and new No. 10 Josué Colman.

The bad

Chaos reigned supreme in the 32nd minute when D.C. United's Yamil Asad scored from a free kick outside the 18-yard box. The curling kick somehow avoided all comers inside the box -- and considering goalkeeper Joe Bendik could have punched the ball clear away from danger; not a single OC defender was stationed near the far side of the post, allowing the shot to bounce in for the first goal of the night.

Victor "PC" Giro's ill-advised attempt to circumvent the opposition in the 41st minute was almost disastrous to the Orlando City cause. At first glance, it looked as though PC and D.C.'s Asad inadvertently collided, possibly knocking heads.

However, after a little more than three minutes of deliberation for video replay, the head referee came back, with as much as it pains me to say, the correct call, issuing PC an automatic ejection.

Somehow, PC was surprised by the ruling. Even if PC didn't mean to strike Asad, flailing his arms in the midst of a contested header is a recipe for disaster.

The good

Though Will Johnson's inadvertent handball in the box in the 19th minute could be viewed as a negative, considering Johnson's hands were by his side as he shadowed the attacking Darren Mattocks, Bendik came to the rescue for the first of four saves.

Bendik guessed correctly, with a sprawling block to his left to block Mattocks' penalty kick. Not only was Bendik's stop easily the best save of MLS Week 1 play, but the where-with-all of newly crowned captain Jonathan Spector to follow the deflection off the top bar, and beat D.C. United's Ulises Segura to the ball, knocking it out of bounds was tremendous. Its hustle play like Spector's that deserve equal recognition.

The constant change of pace Justin Meram brought to the pitch was on display all-night-long. In the 50th minute, Meram raced up the flank, deeked a defender and slid a pass to rookie Chris Mueller for a near-miss.

His 56th-minute pin-point cross to Yoshi Yotún was kept out of the net with an incredible kick-save by D.C. defender Frederic Brillant. Then in the 67th-minute, Meram made a quick interception before dribbling into position and blistering a shot just off to the right of the net.

In the 77th minute, Mohammad El-Munir officially earned his place on the OC squad. Words cannot do justice to the flat-out hustle and determination El-Munir, the first Libyan to play in MLS, showcased chasing down D.C.'s Mattocks across 60 yards -- sliding in front of Mattocks' shot just in the nick-of-time to deflect the ball wide of the net.

It was the quintessential case of when there's a will there's a way.

At 90+3, Jonathan Spector came all the way upfield from his usual center back position to run a beautiful give-and-go with Meram, setting up a first touch to at the top of the six-yard box for his first MLS goal and the game-tying decision.

The ugly

Immediately after PC was sent off with the red card, D.C. United must have felt pretty secure that their 1-0 lead would hold up because their attack completely reversed into what fans of the EPL "lovingly" refer to as "parking the bus." If you're unfamiliar with this terminology, watch the tactics of Manchester United boss José Mourinho, and you'll understand.

It's similar to American football when the offense is driving down the field and time is clicking down on the clock. Instead of continuing to punish the opposition by throwing for first downs and potentially score a touchdown, the offensive coordinator calls for a series of runs up the middle because, in his mind, he's already settled for the field goal. What happens next? The decisive three-pointer is missed, and the game heads into overtime.

The same principle follows in this, the other football. The attackers play more of a midfield role as the defense drops back and runs what NFL fans would call "prevent D." All this does is allow the other side to dictate play. Clearly, this had a lot to do with Orlando City dominating 61.3 percent of second-half possession.


Saturday night's squeaker resulted in the third draw in four opening matches since Orlando City entered MLS in 2015. In front of 25,527 panicked supporters, Orlando City found the will to remain in the match long enough to capitalize on an exhausted D.C. United defense.

Being a man down for almost 50 minutes is no small task to overcome. Considering the Lions started two rookies, both in their professional debuts -- without the services of reigning MLS assists leader Sacha Kljestian (17) and the scoring prowess of USMNT striker Dom Dwyer, Orlando will happily take the lone point into next week's matchup against Minnesota United FC. The MUFC Loons dropped their first match of the season 3-2 to a revamped San Jose Earthquakes side.