Orlando City extends unbeaten run to 16 games in USL PRO play
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – In a marquee match that featured two teams at the top of the USL PRO standings, Orlando City SC (13-0-3, 42 points) defeated third place side LA Galaxy II (8-5-4, 28 points) 3-0 on Saturday night at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Corey Hertzog scored his first brace in Orlando City colors, propelling the Lions to 16th consecutive matches without a loss.
“I think we’re good enough to have those kind of runs, so I’m not surprised,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath on the unbeaten run after the match. “But we have to keep it going now, and that’s the standard that we set for ourselves. We’ve been a work in progress but things are getting better. Our combination play has improved and so has the players’ ability to understand their roles.
It didn’t take long for Orlando City to jump on the score-sheet, with Striker Corey Hertzog tucking away Luke Boden’s driven ball across the box in the 18th minute of play. Boden’s assist moved the veteran defender into second place for assists in Club history (13).
Hertzog would then go on to secure his brace in the 43rd minute after splendid link-up play between Span and Molino on the edge of the area. Span drove inside from the wing and played the ball to Molino, who cleverly flicked a no-look pass in behind the defense to Hertzog for a comfortable finish
Less than two minutes later, Hertzog came close to producing his first hat-trick in Orlando City colors when Tyler Turner played a wonderful cross to the striker, who managed to re-direct it into the top corner. Unfortunately for the Lions, Hertzog was ruled offside by the assistant referee.
Hertzog had countless additional opportunities to score early in the match, as the City front-line proved to be a continual threat for Los Dos. Hertzog nearly snuck one past Laurendi early in the match, but the goalkeeper did well to get low and tip it wide for a corner. Valentino’s header on the ensuing corner-kick was on its way in but the Galaxy II defense managed to clear it off the line.
Four minutes later, Hertzog blasted a powerful effort that rattled off the crossbar, keeping Laurendi honest.
Orlando would eventually add a third in the 60th minute when Kevin Molino scored his 11th goal of the season to take his place at the top of the USL PRO goal scoring table. Molino was able to find the back of the net after playing Span in behind with a crafty through ball. Span, who made a good run to create space, attempted to chip the goalkeeper and hit the post. The Trinidadian midfielder was lurking nearby and clinically slotted the rebound home to put the game out of reach for Los Dos.
Molino nearly scored a second in the 89th minute when he battled with Diallao and attempted to roll it past the ‘keeper. Unfortunately for the Club’s first MLS signing, it went just wide of the post.
Los Dos had limited chances in the match, as the run of play was essentially dominated by Orlando. Jack McBean made an effort to cut inside the box and test Gallardo in the first half, but City right-back Tyler Turner was able to produce a crucial tackle that kept the Mexican goalkeeper out of harm’s way.
Los Dos opened up the second half with a cracking effort, when Diallo fired at Miguel Gallardo from close-range. The veteran ‘keeper has been in fine form all season and did well to push it wide and rid the danger.
LA Galaxy II’s remaining efforts would prove to be half-chances with no real threats of danger, allowing Gallardo and the City defense to maintain the clean-sheet and come away unscathed.
With the win, Orlando gains an 11 point cushion on the Richmond Kickers who remain in second place in USL PRO. Next week, the Lions will travel to take on the Wilmington Hammerheads on Thursday, July 3 for the first time this season. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Legion Stadium.
For more information, visit www.OrlandoCitySC.com