Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com
Thursday, June 28, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City Soccer Club plays its lone regular season back-to-back series on the road this weekend, as the Lions take on the Dayton Dutch Lions on Friday before clashing with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday. The matches kick off a stretch of four consecutive road matches that end in Los Angeles next weekend.
“Normally, we get a day in between, but this is something we’ve faced before,” said Orlando City Head Coach Adrian Heath. “We’ll take 19 players, and will have to use the group. We have to prepare for the first game and then see what we’re left with after that.”
The Lions come into the match riding a three-game winning streak. Clear victories over Harrisburg and Antigua, coupled with a hard-fought win against rival Charleston, have put Orlando firmly in the driver’s seat of the USL PRO table. City holds a six-point lead on Charleston for the top spot, and an eight-point lead on third-place Rochester. Wins in both matches this weekend would go a long way in helping cement the Lions’ place in the top two for a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Orlando’s first opponent, the Dayton Dutch Lions, are the polar opposite of City in regards to the standings. Dayton has won just one match all season in league play, and sit in 10th place. Still, the Dutch Lions are showing signs of rebounding as that singular win came last week. In a statement game of sorts, the Dutch Lions thumped Wilmington 4-0. Several members of that squad were named to the USL PRO Team of the Week this week. It is clear the Dutch Lions don’t believe the reports that their season is all but over. Orlando’s Lions expect a tough match.
“We know from last year that [Dayton] is a difficult place to go,” said Heath. “It’s not the greatest set-up in the world. It’s important that mentally, we approach the game properly. It’s not going to be easy.”
The second match of the weekend is a rematch of City’s most-thrilling game of 2012. When the Lions and Riverhounds last met, Ian Fuller capped a flurry of goals that saw four scores in the final 10 minutes of play. City ended up on top 3-2 at the final whistle. City knows the Riverhounds will present a similar challenge.
The Lions will be back to full strength for this match. James O’Connor has returned from his trip to Europe for his pro coaching license, meaning every roster player has returned to training. The Lions will need every available player in this back-to-back series to account for potential injuries and card suspensions.
Friday night’s match will be broadcast on USLNation.com. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. Saturday’s match will not be aired. To follow Saturday’s match, stay tuned to @OCMatchDayLive on Twitter. Kickoff on Saturday is set for 7 p.m.
Player to Watch - Adama Mbengue
City’s newest roster member only made a cameo appearance against Harrisburg, and it came after the Lions took a 3-0 lead. This weekend, look for Mbengue to see significant minutes as Heath calls on all hands to keep the squad fresh. Mbengue is a very creative player that takes chances from 25 yards and in. Don’t be surprised if he rips a highlight-reel goal in a potential first start on Friday or Saturday.
Miguel Gallardo, Sean Kelley, Wes Allen, Kieron Bernard, Luke Boden, Kyle Davies, Erik Ustruck, Rob Valentino, Charlie Campbell, Ian Fuller, Adama Mbengue, Kevin Molino, James O’Connor, Anthony Pulis, John Rooney, Dennis Chin, Max Griffin, Matt Luzunaris, Jamie Watson.