Saturday, May 26, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. - After a disappointing draw on Thursday, Orlando City Soccer Club regained winning form by defeating the Charlotte Eagles 2-1 on Saturday night at the Florida Citrus Bowl in front of 6,821 rowdy fans. Jamie Watson’s goal in the first half and Matt Luzunaris’ score in the second lifted Orlando to the win, and kept their unbeaten streak alive at nine games.
Orlando struck first in the opening 15 minutes. Watson found himself with a clear lane inside the penalty area after a great feed by Kevin Molino. Watson put the ball in the upper-left corner of the net, giving Orlando (7-0-2) the early 1-0 lead. The goal marked Watson’s first of the 2012 USL PRO regular season.
Watson remained on the attack, nearly having another goal in the 41st minute. The Dallas, Texas, native rocketed a shot toward the upper part of the net, with Charlotte goalkeeper Eric Reed having to deflect the attempt over the bar.
City earned their second goal in the 53rd minute from another striker who hadn’t scored so far in the regular season. Jerome Mechack found a streaking Luzunaris on the left side of the pitch, leading the forward perfectly in stride. Luzunaris headed the ball, and it deflected off the post and into the net to give Orlando a 2-0 advantage.
Charlotte (2-7-2) didn’t go down without a fight. In the 79th minute, Midfielder Christian Meza gave the Eagles their first score of the match after blasting a shot above leaping City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo. Despite the goal, Orlando remained on the offensive until the final whistle blew.
“I thought that we played with more tempo and did the simple things right,” said Orlando coach Adrian Heath. “I am happy with the win but we still have a lot to improve on. [Sporting] Kansas City has a great front line. They’ll be a real handful [Tuesday].”
Next up for Orlando City is a trip to Kansas City for the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Lions will face former teammate Lawrence Olum and the rest of Major League Soccer’s Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. ET. If City advances, they will host either the Colorado Rapids from MLS or the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Tuesday, June 5 at the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Orlando City resumes USL PRO regular season play on June 2. The Lions will visit the Wilmington Hammerheads for the second clash between the two clubs this season. Orlando defeated Wilmington 4-1 on April 15 at the Florida Citrus Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast on USLNation.com, USL's free online video streaming network.