ORLANDO, Fla. – Feb. 24, 2016 – Orlando City SC defeated the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League (NASL) 2-0 on Wednesday afternoon at Sylvan Lake Park. Only one friendly remains before the opening match of their 2016 Major League Soccer (MLS) campaign. Orlando City opens the 2016 season at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on March 6 against Real Salt Lake. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. Tickets are available at www.OrlandoCitySC.com/tix. The Lions have launched #FillTheBowlAgain to attempt a second consecutive sellout for its MLS home opener.
Reflecting on today’s friendly, Head Coach Adrian Heath said, “The game was good, it was very competitive to say the least – a bit too competitive to be honest. It was useful, because we needed the minutes and I think that became apparent as the game wore on, but it was a good run out for some of the players who are going to need time.”
Lining up with a team that combined Orlando City SC and Orlando City B players, featuring the debut of Honduran midfielder Devron García and Kevin Molino’s first start since last May, City dominated much of the first half of play, threatening the Strikers’ backline consistently and controlling much of the possession. Despite an outstanding offensive effort by Kevin Molino, who looked lively as he frustrated the Fort Lauderdale’s defense while dribbling his way down the right side, the first 45 finished scoreless.
Following the break, Adrian Heath made two substitutions and moved former University of Central Florida attacker Hadji Barry on the right wing. OCB players Michael Cox and Andrew Ribeiro entered for Kevin Molino and Devron García, respectively. The Lions managed to open the score as they continued to set the pace of the game.
Ten minutes into the second half, Hadji Barry overtook three defenders and found the back of the net with a clinical right-footed finish from inside the box, recording his third goal this preseason. Eight minutes later, Pedro Ribeiro, who had previously threaten with two shots that went just wide, doubled the lead following a clever combination between Luke Boden and Tony Rocha down the left flank that resulted in a precise ball in front of goal. Ribeiro finished it with a powerful low strike.
The Lions will play their final preseason match on Saturday, Feb. 27, against Brazilian side Esporte Clube Bahia at the Orlando Citrus Bowl, as they finish preparations for their second Major League Soccer (MLS) season. Kickoff is scheduled at 7:30 p.m.
ORL – Hadji Barry 55’
ORL – Pedro Ribeiro (Tony Rocha) 63’
Orlando City SC – First Half: GK Earl Edwards Jr., D Luke Boden, Aurélien Collin, Tommy Redding, Kevin Alston, M Pedro Ribeiro, Devron García (Andrew Ribeiro 46’), Richie Laryea, Tony Rocha, Kevin Molino (Michael Cox 46’), F Hadji Barry