KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Wednesday was the first preseason match back in Orlando after returning from Mexico, and the Lions looked to be right at home, winning 3-1 over new USL Championship side Rhode Island FC.
A two-goal performance from MLS Next Pro MVP Jack Lynn led the way for a young lineup for the Lions which included new homegrown defender Tahir Reid-Brown as well as two of Orlando's MLS SuperDraft picks, Jeorgio Kocevski and Yutaro Tsukada.
Lynn found his first of the day just before halftime, getting on a low-driven cross from fullback Alex Freeman.
"Freeman just put it on a platter for me. All I had to do was kind of tap it in," Lynn said of his goal. "I'm just trying to keep scoring, trying to help the team any way I can."
His second came just five minutes into the second half after battling for the ball with the defense. After the pressure from the Lions forced a turnover, it was an individual effort from Lynn, running behind the Rhode Island backline that led him into the box and finishing far post and out of reach of the goalkeeper.
"It was good to be able to apply all that we've been working on all week long," midfielder Shak Mohammed said. "It was good. Amazing performance by all the guys."
After a goal from a Rhode Island trialist cut the game to 2-1, an own goal forced by the Lions pressing of the backline restored the two-goal advantage with just a few minutes to go in the match.
The Lions will now head into the weekend, when they'll be taking on their first MLS competition of the preseason — the New England Revolution. That match on Saturday will be open to Society XXI members only.
Best photos from the match
Photos by Mark Thor / Orlando City SC
Kickoff to Soccer: Events
City fans, we’re ready to Kickoff to Soccer with a special roster of 10 events to celebrate the 10 years of MLS in the City Beautiful. All of the events will culminate in Orlando's season opener on February 24 against CF Montréal the start of the 2024 season!