Orlando City News Release -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com
Thursday, August 16, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando City Soccer Club concludes the 2012 USL PRO Regular Season on Friday evening at the Florida Citrus Bowl against the Dayton Dutch Lions. The match is City’s final tune-up ahead of the playoffs as they have already clinched the USL PRO Regular Season Championship. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
On paper, Orlando’s Lions have nothing to play for on Friday, save for pride. The regular season crown was clinched weeks ago, and new club records for wins, points, and goals scored have also been long since written by the stellar season. But Head Coach Adrian Heath’s team isn’t treating this match as meaningless. Far from it.
“The players know that if the squad on Friday plays the way I want them to, they’ll very much be the squad for the playoffs,” said Heath. “Training has been very competitive this week. I’m pleased with what I’ve seen so far, but need to see it again on Friday.”
Historically, the Dayton Dutch Lions are a team that frustrates Orlando City. While Orlando has never lost to Dayton, they’ve won just once in three overall meetings. The last encounter saw City take two leads only to have Dayton come back with equalizers within 20 minutes.
“Every time we play them, they give us a difficult game,” said Heath. “I look at the standings and I don’t understand why they are where they are [ninth place]. They have a lot of talent, and if we don’t give them the respect they deserve they can surprise us.”
While historical records between the two clubs are largely a push, the respective sides’ home and away records give Orlando a clear advantage. City are undefeated at home, and carry a +19 goal differential on their home turf. By contrast, Dayton has not won on the road all season, and carries a -14 goal differential. The Dutch Lions have scored just once in 10 road games this season. Their lone away goal came on May 18 in Rochester, nearly three months ago.
While most of the squad is fit and ready, the Lions will be without a few usual starters. Matt Luzunaris is not expected to play, having missed the last two weeks while tending to personal matters. Kevin Molino is expected to be available for selection, but is not expected to start after playing a full 90 minutes for Trinidad and Tobago in their 2-0 lost to Canada in a friendly Wednesday night. The rest of the squad should be fully rested, as Heath gave the team the week off last week.
“Everyone’s come back rested and fit,” said Heath. “I expect that our lads will be ready to go. We’re looking to have some momentum going into the playoffs, and this will be a great first step.”
Tickets for Friday’s regular season finale are still available, and start at just $15. The match will be broadcast locally on Bright House Sports Network and nationally on USLNation.com. For more information, visit www.orlandocitysoccer.com or call 855-ORL-CITY today.
Player to Watch - George Davis IV
The newest addition to Orlando City is very familiar with the Dayton Dutch Lions. Davis began his career in Dayton, first as a PDL player, and then last year as their stand-out rookie and leading goal scorer. Davis’ knowledge of the Dutch Lions system, combined with the spark he’s given the Orlando City line-up since his arrival on loan from the LA Blues, should be a key factor in leading the Lions to victory on Friday.