JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (June 15, 2016) - Orlando City SC returned to the pitch this evening to begin its Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup run to defeat North American Soccer League’s (NASL) Jacksonville Armada FC 1-0, advancing to the Round of 16 of the nation’s oldest soccer tournament. The match at Southern Oak Stadium opened with a beautiful dedication to those affected by the saddening incidents that occurred in the City of Orlando.
“I knew it was going to be a difficult night and that’s how it proved to be. You don’t get easy games in the Cup. Teams that are playing supposedly below you, they want to prove to everybody that they want to be in our league and I expected a tough game and that’s what we got,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “I thought we played quite well in the second half, we got some ball possession and actually moved the ball quite well. We sort of tempered with the shape of the team a little bit in the second half, and I thought it helped us.”
City, led by Servando Carrasco, who wore the captain's armband for the first time as a Lion, began the match clicking on all cylinders after enjoying a 17-day break for Copa America Centenario. Orlando threatened the Armada FC’s goal seconds into the match, when speedy winger Carlos Rivas surpassed the defenders down the left flank and found Julio Baptista at the edge of the box, but the Brazilian’s shot went inches over the crossbar.
However, the Lions continued applying pressure on the attacking end, registering 13 shots and eventually finding the back of the net on the 62nd minute from a set-piece play. Midfielder Antonio Nocerino found Baptista inside the box on a corner kick, and ‘The Beast’ headed it into the far post before David Mateos finished it past former Orlando City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo. It was the Spaniard’s first goal with the Lions.
Despite Jacksonville’s efforts to level the game, an outstanding outing by starting goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr., who made four saves, and City’s backline solid performance, sealed the victory for the Lions to advance to the next round of the historic tournament.
Orlando City returns to the Camping World Stadium on Saturday, June 18, to host the San Jose Earthquakes at 7:30 p.m. E.T.
1’ City began the match creating a dangerous chance, when Carlos Rivas surpassed the defenders down the left flank and found Julio Baptista at the edge of the box, but the Brazilian’s shot went over the bar.
20’ Jacksonville’s Junior Sandoval took a shot from the right side of the pitch toward the far post, but goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. made an impressive save to force the corner kick. It is Edwards Jr.’s first start of the year with City’s MLS side.
29’ Lions’ captain Servando Carrasco crossed the ball looking for Baptista inside the box, but former Orlando City goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo catches the attempt. It is Carrasco’s first showing as team captain.
34’ Attacker Alhassane Keita’s fired a shot from the 20-yards out but the attempt went too high.
38’ Edwards made another outstanding save to keep the match leveled, blocking a header from defender Tyler Ruthven on a corner kick.
42’ Baptista was fouled after recovering the ball in midfield and heading on the counter attack. Carlos Rivas took a powerful strike on the free-kick but the ball went inches off the crossbar.
45 (+1)’ The referee indicated the end of the first half, with the sides tied 0-0.
46’ Head Coach Adrian Heath made the first substitution of the match, introducing OCB loanee Tony Rocha for Hadji Barry.
49’ Fans stood up and applauded to commemorate the victims of last weekend’s unfortunate incidents in Orlando.
52’ Midfielder Mechack Jerome took a shot from the edge of the box that went wide.
61’ After being fouled just outside the box, Baptista’s free-kick was deflected by the wall and resulted in a corner kick.
62’ The Lions took the lead after a perfectly executed corner kick. Baptista headed Antonio Nocerino’s cross to the far post finding David Mateos who headed it in to give City the advantage. It was the Spaniard’s first goal with the Lions.
65’ Rivas almost doubled the lead from another set piece opportunity, heading a corner kick from Luke Boden but Gallardo managed to save on the far post.
76’ Heath makes its second substitution of the evening, entering Kevin Molino for Nocerino.
82’ Molino created a chance minutes after subbing in, dribbling his way down the right flank and finding Rivas on the left, who shot wide on the near post.
90 (+3) The referee indicates the end of the match, with City earning a 1-0 victory over the Jacksonville Armada FC to advance to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Cup Round of 16.
ORL - David Mateos (Julio Baptista) 62’
ORL - Kevin Alston (Yellow Card) 28’
JAX - Anthony Wallace (Yellow Card) 42’
JAX - Kevan George (Yellow Card) 75’
JAX - Junior Sandoval (Yellow Card) 81’
JAX - Lucas Scaglia (Yellow Card) 86’
Orlando City SC - GK Earl Edwards, Jr., D Luke Boden, Tommy Redding, David Mateos, Kevin Alston, M Servando Carrasco, Harrison Heath, Carlos Rivas, Antonio Nocerino (Kevin Molino 76’), F Hadji Barry (Tony Rocha 46’), Julio Baptista
Unused Substitutes: GK Joe Bendik, D Seb Hines, Brek Shea, Conor Donovan, F Cyle Larin
Jacksonville Armada FC - GK Miguel Gallardo, D Anthony Wallace, Tyler Ruthven, Beto Navarro, Bryan Burke (Danny Barrow 77’), Mechack Jérôme, Patrick Otte (Lucas Scaglia 71’), M Kevan George, Pascal Millien, Junior Sandoval, F Alhassane Keita
Unused Substitutes: GK Sean Lewis, D Shawn Nicklaw, F Alex Dixon, Charles Eloundou, Jemal Johnson,
Details of the Game
Time: 7 p.m. E.T.
June 15, 2016
ORL - 43.6%
JAX - 56.4%
ORL - 13
JAX - 11
ORL - 4
JAX - 6
ORL - 15
JAX - 11
ORL - 2
JAX - 2