After what he called a “down game” from Kevin Molino against Sporting Kansas City, Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath made the decision to bench the midfielder for last Saturday night’s Montréal Impact match. For a player who has scored four goals on the season, Molino could have reacted poorly and hung his head over the choice to leave him out of the starting XI.
Instead, the 25 year-old from Trinidad and Tobago used the decision to fuel his desire to perform well and prove to his coach and team that he deserved to play.
Molino, asked about how he kept an even keel coming into the Union match after being benched, radiated positivity.
“I just wanted to be the guy to motivate the team on the bench, on the field – whatever, you know and I just want to go out there and work hard, to help the whole team get the results and do whatever it takes.”
On the bench again for Wednesday night’s matchup with the East-leading Philadelphia Union, Molino came on in the 67th minute with his home squad down 1-0. Thirty seconds later, Molino showed why he belonged on the pitch, as he scored the equalizer for the Lions with a second chance tap-in - his first touch of the match.
Molino’s perseverance has been evident both on the pitch and off with his unwavering mentality. With a depleted roster due to injuries and Mateos’ red card, Coach will be looking for players to step up, and Molino, with five goals on the season, hasn’t gone unnoticed by Heath.
“You have an opportunity to impress a coach and he did that tonight. I don’t think I need to explain to anyone how I feel about Kevin [Molino], it’s well documented what I think. His talent is probably as good as anyone in this club.”
Heath added that Molino would “definitely be in the discussion” for starting the next match.
Sunday’s game in New York will be the third match in nine days, and City has the opportunity to propel up the standings with a win. With the way he’s been playing, and the determination in his eyes, look for Molino to provide the spark at Yankee Stadium against rival New York City FC.