ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 17, 2016 – In a highly contested battle, Orlando City SC defeated the New York Red Bulls 3-2 during its third preseason match on Wednesday at the ChampionsGate Sports Complex, progressing in its preparation toward the 2016 Major League Soccer (MLS) season.
The fixture included the anticipated return of Lions’ midfielder Kevin Molino, who played his first competitive game since his injury last May, and recorded the game-winning assist in the waning moments of the match.
The Lions battled with the Red Bulls in an intense first half in which possession was shared evenly for both teams. City took the advantage after threatening with numerous corner kick deliveries when Luke Boden found an open Kaká on the far post, who headed it in in the 23rd minute. Despite a dominant performance by Lions’ goalkeeper Joe Bendik, who was outstanding making several saves to deny dangerous efforts throughout the game, the Red Bulls took a 2-1 lead before the end of the first 45, with goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips and Lawrence Kamar.
Following the break, Adrian Winter leveled the score from inside the six-yard box after a delightful cross from Kaká on a set piece complicated the Red Bulls’ backline in the 62nd minute. Eight minutes later, Adrian Heath introduced an entire new team, including the return of the skillful attacking midfielder Kevin Molino.
Molino had an immediate impact on the match, when he received a through-ball from Richie Laryea on the counter and assisted Pedro Ribeiro with a clever ball, with the Brazilian finishing clinically.
Reflecting on the match, Head Coach Adrian Heath said, “Our body language was poor from the beginning and we didn’t look ready to come and play. I thought the second group were a lot better. The game looked like it meant something more to them.”
Commenting on the return of Molino, Heath said, “Kevin only had 10-15 minutes but he looks okay. We are just hoping that we can get him more minutes between now and the beginning of the season because the bottom line is that he is one of our best players.”
ORL – Kaká (Luke Boden) 23’
NYR – Bradley Wright-Phillips (Kamar) 25’
NYR – Lawrence Kamar 36’
ORL – Adrian Winter 62’
ORL – Pedro Ribeiro (Kevin Molino) 85’
Orlando City SC – First Half: GK Joe Bendik, Luke Boden, Seb Hines, David Mateos, Rafael Ramos, Cristian Higuita, Darwin Cerén, Adrian Winter, Kaká, Hadji Barry, F Cyle Larin
70th Minute Subs: GK Earl Edwards Jr., D Kevin Alston, Aurélien Collin, Tommy Redding, Mikey Ambrose, M Servando Carrasco, Andrew Ribeiro, Kevin Molino, Tony Rocha, F Pedro Ribeiro
New York Red Bulls: GK Luis Robles, Sal Zizzo, Karl Ouimette, Gideo Baah, Kemar Lawrence, M Felipe, Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam, Sacha Kljestan, F Gonzalo Verón, Bradley Wright-Phillips