Saturday, July 14, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. - Led by a trio of goals coming in the first 30 minutes and a penalty kick in the second half, Orlando City Soccer Club downed the Rochester Rhinos 4-0 at the Florida Citrus Bowl on Saturday night, and extended their lead in the USL PRO table to 10 points over the now-second placed Charleston Battery. The crowd of 7,260 witnessed the Lions’ second consecutive 4-0 victory in the 2012 regular season.
“I’ve made no secrets that we want to win the league,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “Tonight was another big step forward in that quest. We worked really, really hard tonight and it showed.”
Orlando (13-1-4, 43 points) didn’t waste any time to go ahead, taking advantage of an early counter-attack to take the lead. Kevin Molino, second in the league in assists, perfectly led a streaking Matt Luzunaris inside the six-yard box, with the forward blasting a strike in the lower-left corner to put City up 1-0 in the 10th minute.
Only five minutes later, Orlando notched another goal off a strike by Jerome Mechack. The opportunity was created when Adama Mbengue was taken down just outside the penalty area, resulting in a free kick for the Lions. The attempt that followed caught the Rhinos (9-5-5, 32 points) defense off guard, with Ian Fuller tapping it over to Mechack, who blasted it straight past Rhinos goalkeeper Kristian Nicht for a 2-0 lead.
The Lions continued to capitalize on opportunities, especially those coming from set pieces. In the 27th minute, Luke Boden’s corner kick ound the 6-foot-3 Rob Valentino leaping above the scrum around goal as the center back headed in to give Orlando a 3-0 advantage. The goal was Valentino’s first in 15 matches, as the Danville, Calif., native has been recovering from injuries for the last two months.
The fourth and final goal for Orlando was scored by newcomer Rodrigo Lopez from the penalty spot. Jamie Watson was taken down inside the penalty area, bringing up one of the newest Orlando City players to attempt the penalty. Lopez, who was most recently with the PDL’s Ventura County Fusion, calmly put his try in the back of the net, sealing the Lions’ victory.
Orlando City goes back on the road to square off against the now second-placed Charleston Battery on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. The Battery hold a record of 11-6-0 so far in 2012. Orlando and Charleston have met once this season, with the Lions coming out on top 2-1 with goals from Jaime Watson and Jean Alexandre.