Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com
Friday, May 4, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City Soccer Club looks to extend its season-opening unbeaten streak to five games when the Pittsburgh Riverhounds visit the Florida Citrus Bowl on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
The Lions come into the match hoping to rebound from last week’s disappointing 0-0 draw with Richmond. Unhappy with the first half showing, Heath made an unprecedented four substitutions at the half. He also shifted the shape of the squad, transitioning to a 4-4-2 with Max Griffin and Dennis Chin partnering up top. While the Lions increased their scoring chances, the ball never found the back of the net.
“I’m looking for a reaction from my players,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I was really disappointed in our performance last week, probably the most disappointed since I’ve been here. “
The defense kept a clean sheet for the third time in four games this season, but it was the first time Orlando City failed to score this season. Heath has been focusing on the Lions’ play in the final third all week, and expects to see improvements this week.
“I don’t think we’ve had enough production from our front four or five players this year. I’m sure that Pittsburgh will come in here and make it as difficult as possible, but I’m looking at our team and hoping we’ll get the reaction we’re looking for because last weekend wasn’t good enough.”
The biggest question for Orlando City coming into this match is the status of goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo. The 2011 USL PRO Goalkeeper of the Year was forced to leave last week’s match at halftime due to a concussion. Gallardo has recovered, and actually scored higher on his concussion tests after the incident than before. Should Gallardo experience any issues, Sean Kelley will be available off the bench.
Pittsburgh enters Saturday’s match looking for a turn of fate. After starting the season with a win in Antigua, the Riverhounds have dropped three of their last four matches. In that span, they have scored just three goals. No player on the Riverhounds roster has scored more than once this season. For the Riverhounds to contend with Orlando’s potentially potent offense, someone will have to step up. Previous meetings between the two clubs suggest that history is not on Pittsburgh’s side.
Orlando and Pittsburgh met twice last season, with the Lions taking the season series 1-0-1. In the May 14 clash at the Citrus Bowl, the Lions got a goal in the second minute, and that was all they needed for a 1-0 victory. In that match, City outshot the Riverhounds 17-5. The follow-up match in Pittsburgh was a defensive struggle ending in a scoreless draw.
Player to Watch - Jerome Mechack
City’s right back has been a mainstay of Adrian Heath’s starting line-up since the club’s days in Austin, but after last week’s performance, Mechack has a lot to prove. The Haitian international struggled mightily last week, and was subbed at halftime. Will Mechack return to form, or will this be the game that forces Heath to make a more permanent change on the back line?
Miguel Gallardo, Sean Kelley, Jerome Mechack, Rob Valentino, Kyle Davies, Luke Boden, Erik Ustruck, Wes Allen, Anthony Pulis, James O’Connor, Kevin Molino, John Rooney, Jamie Watson, Charlie Campbell, Ian Fuller, Max Griffin, Matt Luzunaris, Dennis Chin